Having served Hartington Lodge No 1021 for three out of the last four years as WM, Andy Baxter can look back on his tenure with pride and satisfaction for a job well done. His dedication and approach to Masonry is to be admired and followed by the younger brethren of his lodge and other lodges within the group.
The lodge was opened in due form and after its business had been dealt with, the lodge was very honoured to welcome Barry Fitzgerald, Past Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews. Barry was accompanied by grand officers; David Grainger, Keith Beaumont (Cumberland and Westmorland), Roly Saunders, Alan Jones, David Kellet and Phil Preston. Also supporting Barry was Chairman of Furness and South Lakeland Group Gary Rogerson, along with executive officers Alan Pattinson and Chris Gray, plus acting Provincial grand officers Fred Dickinson, Tim Gill, Matt Kneale and Mark Little.
Morton Richardson, director of ceremonies, led the salutations which were humbly received. The installation then proceeded accurately and smoothly, demonstrating the hard work of Morton, as all who took part were word perfect, which made it an absolute pleasure to listen to and engage with the ritual. The installation was conducted in a dignified and sincere manner throughout. Barrie Bray, the master elect, must have been impressed by his installing master, as his style and delivery were perfect.
After being installed as master, the working tools by three ‘young’ brethren were stunning. Ian Thompson, Scott Deakin and Mike Jenkins delivered the third, second (long version) and first degree tools respectively. All were word perfect and it was another splendid chance to listen to three fine pieces of ritual.
Keith Templeton gave a superb address to the new master; Harry Chatfield addressed the wardens with a stunning performance, another great example for the junior brethren. Barry gave an excellent oration to the lodge members with a meaningful delivery, which allowed the sentiments to be crystal clear to all the brethren. Mark Little, also gave a superb performance of the address to the stewards.
As the officers of the lodge were appointed, it gave Barry a great opportunity to become involved with the ceremony, as he called upon the director and assistant director of ceremonies to be presented to Barrie. On receiving their collars, he then called upon David Dryden, who had purchased new wands, to help him in presenting them to the DC and ADC of the lodge. Barrie said: “It was a very kind and generous gesture from David and will be much appreciated by Hartington Lodge.”
Barrie was thrilled, as his first duty as master, was to hand over a cheque to Barry Fitzgerald on behalf of the lodge for £1,021 for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity account. In reply, Barry praised the lodge brethren for their kind donation and thanked them on behalf of those who would benefit from their generosity. “People”, he said, “who we would never meet, but nevertheless be assured, it would change their lives considerably.”
David Dryden sang the master’s song with gusto and later, Barrie announced that in the lodge, £212.59 had been collected for Masonic charities, whilst the raffle at the banquet had raised a magnificent £690 plus £22 from the masters in office to be split between the junior warden’s fund and the building fund. A marvellous show of charitable giving. Barrie, being the chairman of the Furness and South Lakeland Boxing Committee, was extremely pleased to announce that the event held at the Grand Hotel, Grange, after a two-year gap, was again a successful event and that small charities in the Furness area would benefit for a 35th year. The presentation will take place on 13 May this year, at the Fairfield in Barrow.
The numbers attending, were mentioned by more than one speaker during the ceremony and again at the banquet, as 114 brethren had come to support the lodge, Barrie and Andy. The camaraderie was abundant all day and as the final toast was given by the tyler, it was clear the enjoyment factor of being in each other’s company, was going to last a little longer, as the vast majority of the brethren did not seem in any hurry to leave the convivial atmosphere!