Jonathan Heaton was the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews for the proclamation of Anthony Prior as master of Park Hall Lodge No 8375. Jonathan was supported by his fellow grand officer Graham Chambers, the Chairman of Ormskirk and Bootle Group, and two acting officers, Les Gilston and Keith Lindsay.
The ceremony itself was ably conducted by acting director of ceremonies Alan Browne who had volunteered to help the lodge on the night. Anthony thanked the six assembled brethren of Park Hall Lodge for ‘sticking together through some difficult times’ and after the proclamation, Stuart Cunningham gave the working tools for the first degree, whilst Malcolm Sandywell gave the address to the master and Alan Browne gave the address to the junior warden.
Anthony then presented cheques to Jonathan which he then read out the amounts to be given to each worthy cause; £100 to The Tithebarn, £100 to Ormskirk Hall, £150 to Derrian House Children’s Hospice, £150 to the Sparkle Bean Trust, a charity that was set up to assist when families have a sudden childhood bereavement, £150 to Queen’s Court Hospice, £50 to the Food Bank Appeal, £50 to the Ormskirk Children’s Party and £50 to the Ormskirk Christmas Fayre, giving a grand total of £800, Jonathan thanked the brethren of Park Hall Lodge for their donations and said: “A quite remarkable amount for such a small Lodge.”
Following the ceremony, the 17 assembled brethren then retired to the festive board which was of the usual high standard that the caterer, Gary O’Brien, always provides which was proficiently served by their outstanding staff. The whole evening was very much enhanced by Doug Little providing music in the lodge room and at the festive board.
After the toast to his health, Jonathan rose to address the brethren again and on behalf of Mark Matthews he thanked the lodge secretary for his support and the group chairman for his attendance and support. He emphasised that membership was at the top of Grand Lodge’s agenda and impressed the great importance of caring for any new candidates and getting them comfortably engaged since unlike those candidates who are formally introduced, most of these men have little knowledge of some of the intricacies of Freemasonry and as such need that extra support and help. He suggested informing them of the Light Blues’ Clubs which are now becoming more active and also informing them of the Royal Arch as soon as they join, but importantly to let them decide for themselves when they are ready to join as it is importantly recognised as the completion of the journey in Craft Masonry.
Jonathan then reminded all assembled that the Provincial Ball is coming up in March and urged all to attend and support the Provincial Grand Master at his ‘Ladies Night’. Lastly, Jonathan reminded the brethren that the WLFC is available to support them in times of need and not to be afraid to ask since funds have been set aside for this purpose due to the current financially challenging times. The very enjoyable evening concluded with a wonderful rendition of the tyler’s toast by Malcolm Sandywell.