An “excellent ceremony” were the words of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger when he attended the installation at Lune Lodge No 4724 as principal guest. The installation held at Rowley Court, Lancaster saw Frank Howard Heath take the master’s chair for a second time. Frank had previously been master of Sandylands Lodge No 5702 in 2005, prior to it amalgamating with Poulton Hall Lodge No 6647 and Rowley Lodge No 1051 to become Poulton le Sands Lodge No 1051 in 2007. Frank is both a member of Poulton le Sands and Lune Lodge, joining Lune Lodge in 2012.
Supporting David on this occasion were grand officers Christopher Butterfield and Peter Mason, together with Lancaster Group Vice Chairman Neil McGill, group secretary Scott Devine and acting Provincial officers Richard Wilcock, Bernard Snape, Ian Thompson, Paul Fuery and Christopher Gray. Adding further lustre to the occasion were four Masons from Lodge Dumfries Kilwinning No 53 (SC). Lune Lodge has forged a fraternal link with the lodge due to a number of the brethren in both lodges being employed by the Asda group. Among their number was the master of the lodge Jonathan Donald, together with his father John Donald.
The master elect was presented for installation by his good friend Neil McGill, before installing master Paul Mason conducted the ceremony in a very proficient fashion, bringing great praise from the assembled brethren. Neil McGill, in what was quickly becoming a very busy evening for him, gave a superbly delivered address to the master, whilst the address to the wardens and brethren were equally well delivered by John Heaton and David Grainger respectively. To much acclaim, the working tools of the three degrees were presented by Andrew Holme (third degree), Paul Morgan (second degree) and Jason Rogers (first degree). Two further accomplished addresses of interest were that by the group mentoring coordinator Nigel Parrish to the lodge mentor and that to the lodge stewards by acting Provincial officer Christopher Gray.
The conclusion of the ceremony marked the opportunity for David to bring greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. David was sure that Tony would have been impressed by the quality of the proceedings and would undoubtedly have wished to specifically congratulate the immediate past master, adding “you look as though you have grown six inches since you have come out of the master’s chair.” Further thanks were extended to the director and assistant director of ceremonies Douglas Willoughby and Neil McGill for their work on the day, as well as the ‘three light blues’ who had presented the working tools in such a great manner. It was a credit to them all. In reply to the greetings brought by David, Frank answered it as: “A pleasure and an honour to be in your company today” and “please give my best wishes to the Provincial Grand Master when you see him.”
David was absolutely delighted to receive notice of donations made by the lodge to charity and good causes totalling some £1,997. The Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival was supported to the sum of £1,000, the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £407, widows Christmas gifts £390, group walk £100, Masonic sporting charities £60 and the Morecambe and Lancaster Masonic Fellowship £40.
The festive board was held in the banqueting suite of Rowley Court where David was delighted at the opportunity to offer his own congratulations and best wishes to Frank, adding: “We have known each other for a good few years and it was a pleasure to see you installed into the chair of this fine lodge in what was an excellent ceremony.” David then moved on to appraise the brethren on a number of important events and initiatives within the Province, beginning with the Tercentenary celebrations which have already seen a very successful Provincial service of thanksgiving held at the Lancaster Priory. Further events are planned and the best way to keep informed David said, was via the Provincial website.
David then moved on to discuss the forthcoming television series entitled ‘Inside the Freemasons’ which hopefully would “dispel some of the myths and half-truths that surround our fraternity and may attract enquiries from interested men.” On that point however, David reminded the brethren that it was important to attract the right men, as ‘too often lodges are going for quantity and soon suffer when new members lose interest.’
Further topics that were discussed included the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting later in the year which David hoped as many brethren as possible will attend as it is not only at this meeting that the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival will be officially launched but it will also witness a well-deserved promotion for one of Lune Lodge’s brethren, group vice chairman Neil McGill. Mention was also made of the Royal Arch and the importance of making sure that brethren complete their Masonic journey by joining this degree.
Before concluding David thanked all the group officers for their ‘tireless work’ as well as thanking the acting Provincial officers for their support and their “willingness to travel all over the Province” with him. In conclusion David added that it was a delight to be in such enjoyable company and professed his best wishes to Lune Lodge for a long and successful future.
The toast to the newly installed master saw Neil McGill deliver a fascinating and often humorous synopsis of Frank’s career and personal details. Nigel Parrish then performed the master’s song with accompaniment by John Heaton, before Frank responded with gratitude for the support he had received from the immediate past master and the brethren of Lune Lodge, with a special thanks to Neil McGill for his tireless efforts, not just for on the night, but throughout the year. Frank also thanked all the visitors for their attendance at the installation, especially those brethren from Lodge Dumfries Kilwinning. The evening ended with the announcement that £403 had been raised from the raffle with a further £35 donated from the ‘master’s swindle’.
Article and photos by Paul Thompson.