Hartington Lodge No 1021 members, their guests and visitors, were extremely pleased and honoured to welcome Past Assistant Provincial Master David Grainger as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, to witness the proclamation of Andrew John Baxter as WM for the third time.
David was in the company of his good friends and fellow grand officers; Barry Fitzgerald and John Quiggin, plus group chairman Gary Rogerson and his vice chairman Alan Pattinson.
Director of ceremonies Morton Richardson held perfect control of the proceedings throughout and having concluded the initial business, Andrew (better known as Andy) was able to greet the representative of the Provincial Grand Master on behalf of the Hartington Lodge brethren, and indeed all the brethren present.
Group care officer Brian Coward addressed David Dryden as the new almoner of the lodge. For some of the younger brethren present, it must have been interesting to discover the extensive role of an almoner and the important part played in the welfare of the brethren and widows of the lodge. Morton Richardson addressed the senior and junior deacons, as Mick Lacey who would normally perform that duty was still not back to full health. Later in the evening, the lodge members wished Mick a speedy recovery and a quick return to Masonry.
David addressed the lodge members in his usual confident manner and the brethren could not help but be impressed by his calm and thoughtful delivery. The short proclamation being completed, Andy’s first task was to present a cheque to David for £1,500 made in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. This was following charitable donations made over the last two years of £1,036 for Masonic charities and £1,877 for non-Masonic charities. David remarked that during the last festival period, Hartington members had contributed a fantastic £20,479 which was a marvellous achievement and one which they should be extremely proud of – making the lodge a Grand Patron of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival.
David happily made mention of the prolific visiting that Andy had undertaken in his terms of office. The point was reflected in the 91 members and visitors attending the festive meal after the ceremony. David could not understand how someone who has a family, runs his own business and is a member of the RNLI crew at Rampside, can find the time to devote to represent Hartington Lodge throughout the group as much as Andy has done.
Consecrated in 1864, Hartington Lodge, David explained, had witnessed two World Wars, the flu epidemic in 1918-20, six monarchs and the loss of many industries in the area – the one representing the greatest loss being Cases’ Brewery. He was sure that under the leadership of Andy and his hard working secretary Ian Thompson, Hartington Lodge would encounter fewer problems in the next Masonic year than they had faced in the last two.
Following a sumptuous three-course meal and Mike Jenkins’ superb rendition of the master’s song, the evening ended with new friendships forged and others renewed. A raffle held during the festive board raised the magnificent sum of £581 for the Masonic Hall Building Fund, which was presented to Bill Glassey to pass on to the hall treasurer Stuart Braithwaite.