In what can only be described as a masterclass in Masonic ritual, and in front of a packed lodge room, John Lee installed Ryan Modlin as WM of Baines Lodge No. 7844 for its diamond jubilee year.
The day started with Baines Masons meeting at St Annes Palace mid-morning to start rehearsing for the day’s event, prior to adjourning for lunch and taking the time to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxing and jovial manner before returning to the Palace for final preparations. ‘First Lady’, Mrs Vicky Modlin had arranged for wives and partners to start arriving from mid-afternoon in a beautifully presented dining room where they enjoyed prosecco and canapés leading up to dinner later in the day.
John Lee, after opening the lodge, welcomed Principal guest, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder and a plethora of grand and Provincial grand officers along with visiting brethren from across Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria.
Following the usual lodge business, the main event of installing Ryan Modlin as master of Baines Lodge commenced. The work undertaken by all involved was exemplary with many members and guests commenting that it was the best installation they had ever witnessed. Passion, warmth and genuine emotions were clear to see during the ceremony as this was more than brethren installing a new master, this was friends installing a friend.
The working tools of an installed master were expertly presented by Tony Cassells, and with equal perfection the third degree, second degree and first degree tools were presented by David Edwards, Tony Farrar and David Thomas. Addresses to the master, wardens and deacons were superbly delivered by John Lee, Ben Gorry and Steve Broomfield. The final address, that to the brethren of Baines Lodge was in the very capable hands of David Winder.
Before closing the meeting, the new master had the sad duty to deliver a eulogy in respect of the late Brian Tracey who had recently passed away. The assembled brethren heard a fitting tribute to Brian’s legacy in Baines Lodge having devoted 30 years of his life to it, alongside his devoted wife Elsie, many of which were spent as charity steward and social secretary. He was also the proposer of the immediate past master John Lee, adding further emotion to an already highly charged atmosphere.
Following an outstanding meal provided by Masonic Event Catering, after dinner speeches were given by David Winder, John Lee, Ryan Modlin and David Thomas, all of which, through sheer coincidence, overlapped in parts of their content. David Winder, after paying tribute to the work undertaken by John Lee, Ryan Modlin and several other brethren, gave an impassioned plea on the topic of membership; urging brethren to consider what they can do to promote membership of the Order in a post COVID world in which many people have been starved of the social interaction and camaraderie that Freemasonry provides.
In his toast to the new Master, John Lee spoke about the commitment shown to Baines Lodge by the new master and in particular the role his wife. Vicky has played not only in supporting Ryan but in supporting the lodge too. For his part, in his response, Ryan returned to the earlier theme of membership stressing that what Freemasonry can offer men and their families is more relevant in today’s society than it has ever been. He spoke passionately about the strong bonds of friendship he and Vicky have taken from Freemasonry as a result of all they had put into it. The new master also took the opportunity to thank everyone that had taken part in and contribute to a magnificent occasion; taking time to reflect on the inspiration provided by the founders of the lodge and to shine a particular spotlight on the largely unseen supporting role David Winder had played in the recent history of Baines Lodge and in supporting him personally over the last decade.
The final speech was given by David Thomas, who delivered the annual toast in memory of the Baines Lodge Founders who conceived the lodge back in 1962 and for those no longer with us. David delivered the toast with the dignity and grace demanded of such an important speech, with the added poignancy of once more remembering the late Brian Tracey who had passed away 10 days previously.
Between two raffles and a collection in the lodge, the evening generated over £1,200 which will be held in the charity account for dispersal among Masonic and non-Masonic charities to be determined by Ryan and Vicky Modlin.