A full Dalton-in-Furness Masonic Hall witnessed Steve McKellar being installed into the chair of Baldwin Lodge No 1398. Steve is a resident of the close knit community of Biggar Village on Walney Island, as are the installing master David Grove and Mike Benson, who gave the address to the new master.
Chairman of Furness and South Lakeland Group Alan Jones attended as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master and was able to enjoy a slick and sincere ceremony delivered by David.
David was amply supported by Brian Davey and John Myers who gave the addresses to the brethren and wardens respectively in very fine style. However the headline act was provided by Steve’s proposer and great friend, Mike Benson in his rendition of the address to the newly installed master. It was delivered with great feeling and precision with many onlookers commenting afterwards that they had never witnessed a better delivery of the address.
Also receiving great praise for their work were junior members Carl Hallows, Craig Boothroyd and Grant Butcher who presented and explained the working tools during the ceremony.
While bringing the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master, Alan remarked on the work done by director of ceremonies Bill Coates, not only on the day but also in the build-up as such a polished ceremony obviously does not just happen by chance. He was also pleased to note that all the progressive positions in the lodge were occupied by light blues.
Steve presented Alan with two cheques. The first for £750 was in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity whilst the second was for £250 towards the annual Christmas Tree Festival held at Dalton-in-Furness parish church.
As is the tradition of Baldwin Lodge, the representative and senior members of the lodge toasted the health of the new master at Dalton-in-Furness Masonic Hall and also enjoyed a slice of installation cake specially provided by Steve.
The facilities being unable to cope with the numbers at the installation banquet, it required a trip to the Fairfield Suite at Barrow-in-Furness Masonic Hall to continue the festivities.
How times have changed, as one of the main reasons given when applying to open the lodge in Dalton-in-Furness in 1872 was the difficulty those local residents who wished to practice Freemasonry faced in getting through to the nearest lodge in Barrow-in-Furness.
An excellent four course meal at the Fairfield was enjoyed by 100 members and their guests who generously contributed to a collection for charity which realised £467 with a gift aid contribution of £117 to be added.