A total of 51 members and guests attended the installation of Rodney North into the chair of King Solomon of Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom No 8500 at Ashton Masonic Hall. Martin Lockyer, Provincial Junior Grand Warden was pleased to represent the Provincial Grand Master and was accompanied by grand officers Malcolm Taylor (Wigan Group Chairman), John Roberts, David Ogden, Alex Sharp and Colin Wadeson supported by group officer John Parrot (Wigan Group charity steward).
Keith Lang performed an excellent installation ceremony and Rodney was put into the chair in fine style. Keith was ably led by director of ceremonies Keith Hayton and assisted by other brethren of the lodge, including George Calderbank, Steven Calderbank and John Burton, who presented the working tools in the three degrees. Once installed, Rodney, not surprisingly, looked extremely comfortable and went on to appoint and invest his officers.
Once complete, it was Martin’s cue to rise and bring greetings on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, who, he said would have been greatly impressed with the quality of the afternoon’s work and brought congratulations to both the new and installing masters. Martin went on to give his own congratulations to the worshipful master and brethren of the lodge, commending all those who took part. In particular he saw fit to single out the installing master, Keith Lang and the brethren responsible for delivering the working tools. Cheques for £500 each, (£2,000 in total), were presented to Martin on behalf of the lodge to be given to The Masonic Samaritan Fund, Prostate Cancer UK, Royal National Institute of Blind People and Ashton Masonic Properties Building Fund.
The new master is a very experienced Mason, this being the fourth term that Rod has occupied the chair of King Solomon. Rod was master of Peninsula Lodge No 5914 in 1989 and 2010 and Aintree Lodge No 4906 also in 2010. He is very proud of his naval career, having joined the Royal Reserve in 1966 as a Junior Marine Engineering Mechanic Second Class at HMS Eaglet, Salthouse Dock Liverpool, being promoted in due time to Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic First Class. Following training with the regular Royal Navy Diving School on HMS Drake in Devonport Plymouth, Rodney qualified as a ship’s diver and became a professional diver in 1975 and had a professional diving career running in tandem with his part time naval career. A very memorable event from his career was a training session in which he was deployed for three weeks to Hong Kong to act as underwater security detail on the Royal Yacht Britannia.