The latest incumbent of the master’s chair of the Grange-over-Sands based Arthur John Brogden Lodge No 1715 is Chris Band. Chris, who is the senior grand officer of the Furness and South Lakeland Group, had agreed to take on the role to enable junior brethren to make a more gradual progression through the offices of the lodge.
The occasion was graced by the attendance of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison who was accompanied by two of his assistants in the persons of David Grainger and David Winder, as well as Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman Peter Schofield.
Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp was on hand to ensure due protocol was observed as he oversaw the appearance of a further nine acting Provincial grand officers. Provincial Senior Grand Warden David Asbridge and Provincial Junior Grand Warden Peter Allen were joined by fellow acting Provincial grand officers David Kenworthy, Barry Fitzgerald, Steve Plevey, David Cole, Stuart Aimson, Phil Burrow and Keith Halligan.
As the master of Arthur John Brogden Lodge was unable to attend due to another commitment, it fell to lodge stalwart Nigel Higginson to take on the role of installing master. The fact that he had only three weeks to prepare for the task did not show as he went about his work in fine style.
The first and second degree working tools were presented faultlessly by junior lodge members Barry Saunders and Alex Lowe; with the latter detailing the extended version of those of the second degree. Past master Allan Curtis completed the trio as he explained the third degree tools.
Some of the acting Provincial grand officers were called into action as well. The senior and junior wardens acted as installing wardens and addressed the new wardens as to their roles. Steve Plevey informed the deacons as to their duties whilst Phil Burrow undertook a similar role in respect of the stewards.
Group chairman Peter Schofield advised new almoner Nigel Higginson as to his responsibilities whilst group charity steward Richard Wilcock was on hand to explain the role of charity steward to Neville Chanin.
Brian Howson recited the address to the newly installed master in an excellent manner with a similar standard being reached as David Asbridge and Tony undertook the delivery of the addresses to the wardens and brethren respectively.
It was very pleasing to see and hear numerous brethren playing a part in the proceedings. Afterwards Tony commented: “It has been a wonderful installation. I congratulate Nigel on the manner he conducted the ceremony and all who took part.”
Later David Grainger remarked: “The ceremony has been second to none. In particular I would like to offer my appreciation of the work of the junior brethren Barry and Alex in presenting the working tools. The standard of their work bodes well for the future.”
To mark the occasion Tony received a donation for £1,000 in favour of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival; the first £200 of which was then matched with a donation from the group charity account which was presented by group charity steward Richard Wilcock, along with a certificate indicating that the lodge was now a vice-patron of the Festival.
It had been over 40 years since Chris, a joining member of Arthur John Brogden Lodge, first ascended to the chair of a lodge and it was in Onward Lodge No 5540 which meets at Fleetwood. Paul Dunne and Alan Lock from Onward Lodge had made the journey to Grange-over-Sands to witness their former master once more going into the chair.
Following the ceremony 70 members and their guests filled the lodge dining room to enjoy the installation banquet. The Masonic hall is the home of only one lodge and it falls upon the brethren to act as waiters and bar tenders. On this occasion Mary Lowe, the wife of Alex, very kindly helped out behind the bar to ensure that no one went thirsty whilst allowing the brethren who would normally undertake that role to enjoy their meal. It was very much appreciated.
The rendition of the song to the newly installed master was undertaken by Victor Hindle. It was as good as you will hear. Additionally, a raffle at the meal raised £391 to be shared equally between the MCF 2021 Festival and the Masonic Hall Building Fund.
Following the formalities of the evening the happy atmosphere continued as friends old and new lingered for a while to enjoy each other’s company following a tremendous afternoon of Masonic ritual and companionship.