The members and guests of Rockhaven and Horwich Lodge No 2324 were honoured to receive Andy Wiltshire as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison for the installation of Allan Shields into the chair of King Solomon.
Andy was accompanied by a galaxy of fellow grand lodge officers; Frank Wilkinson, Bill Huck, John Robson, Brian Horne, Kevin Horne, David Arrowsmith, Peter Bentham, Jeff Huddart, Ivan Eastwood and Chairman of the Chorley and District Group Peter Lockett, together with the Provincial Junior Grand Warden and group vice chairman Peter Allen and group secretary Don Hesketh, supported by acting Provincial grand officers Derek Robinson and Stuart Wilson.
The lodge was opened in due form by the outgoing master Phil Hampson. A ballot then took place to admit, as joining members, Michael O’Brian and Peter Stevenson. The ballot proved favourable and both brethren took their places in the lodge. Continuing with the proceedings, Phil handed over the reins to Colin Preston who went on to conduct a superb ceremony.
Bob Baxendale and Ellis Collier took up positions as installing senior and junior wardens respectively with John Ashworth acting as inner guard. Allan was then presented as master elect by Mike Heather.
Once Allan had been installed into the master’s chair, Mike Heather presented the working tools of an installed master and the working tools of the various degrees were presented by Steven Greenhalgh, Charles Roberts and Alan Hurst, all under the ever-watchful eye of director of ceremonies David Worth.
Allan’s first pleasant duty was to present Andy with cheques to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity of £1,000 and a further £1,000 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. This was on top of £1,500 that had been donated to Masonic and non-Masonic charities throughout the year.
Andy thanked the members of the lodge for their generous donations, following which he brought the greetings and good wishes from the Provincial Grand Master and congratulated all the members who had taken part in the ceremony.
Peter Lockett presented Allan with the MCF 2021 Festival Vice Patron certificate and offered his congratulations to the lodge members on being the first recipient of this award in the group.
In conclusion to the evening, the brethren were treated to a superb festive board in the opulent surroundings of Ridgmont House and a wonderful evening ensued with David Harrison singing the master’s song.