Be Prepared, the watch words of the Scout Association, came to the fore at the installation meeting of Arrowhead Lodge of Freedom No 8500 when the first two representees had to give apologies through illness.
Both Malcolm I Bell and Wigan Group Chairman Geoffrey M Porter, were not well enough to attend but being prepared meant that Stanley Oldfield PAProvGM and Wigan Group Chairman (designate) John Selley were able to step in at the last minute.
The lodge was opened by installing master Dennis Skett and lodge business completed and after opening in the third degree Stanley Oldfield accompanied by acting Provincial grand officers Philip Hughes and Ian Dawson, and John Selley entered to take their seats. Frank Laird who is also an acting Provincial grand officer, was already in the lodge room in his honorary capacity of organist.
WM Dennis Skett led the proceedings to install Rodney North, (Cheshire) into the chair of King Solomon and DC John Baines ensured that all aspects of the ritual were completed flawlessly. With Phillip Stansbie and Keith Hayton acting as SW and JW for the installation ceremony and Geoffrey Westhead acting as IG, Paul O’Brien, the master elect’s proposer when he joined this lodge, presented the master elect to the master and the lodge before the ceremony continued.
On the completion of his obligation the new WM was placed in his seat with some relish and he completed his first duty of appointing his good friend Dennis as his immediate past master before receiving the warrant of the lodge.
The ensuing year’s officers were appointed and addresses were given by Bert Stockley to the WM, Keith Hayton to the two wardens and by Stanley Oldfield to the brethren of the lodge. The working tools were given by Ed Blagbough (third and first degree) and Ray McAuley (second degree).
At the close of the installation ceremony, Stanley Oldfield rose and gave greetings on behalf of the ProvGM Tony Harrison and received a number of cheques from the WM. Stanley explained that they comprised of £250 each to; Sefton Veterans, Macmillan Cancer Relief, Cancer Research UK and The Boys Brigade NW District, from the lodge charity fund plus a cheque for £500 from the lodge general account to the Ashton Masonic Hall Lift Replacement Fund.
The evening continued with the risings and at the first rising a Grand Lodge Certificate for Phil Jones was received, but before it was formally presented by the WM, Stanley Oldfield gave a wonderfully descriptive explanation of its contents to Phil.
With the evening almost completed, at the first rising, Stanley gave greetings on behalf of grand officers and retired from the lodge accompanied by the acting Provincial grand officers and the group chairman (Des). At the second rising Keith Lang, gave greetings on behalf of all the acting and past Provincial grand officers who were present and on the third rising greetings were given by Tom Grimes, WM of Blenheim Lodge No 7519.
With the lodge closed and the junior warden advising that the next regular meeting would be in April, the brethren retired to well-earned refreshments in the form of a Bryn Masonic Hall festive board. Rodney settled immediately into his role taking wine with the visiting representative, visiting masters and the brethren of the lodge before enjoying a traditional meal of braised steak and apple pie.
Stanley spoke on behalf of the ProvGM and reminded the gathering that charity did not only mean putting money on the plate but giving consideration to our fellow man, particularly in these times of unrest in Eastern Europe.
The master’s song sung beautifully by Paul O’Brien brought the proceedings to a head with just the tyler left to remind us of those less fortunate than ourselves.