Another installation at Wellington Park, Leyland saw approximately 60 members and visitors witness Bill Briggs being installed into the chair of King Solomon. This time it was the master’s chair of De Bon Cuer Lodge No 6984.
The lodge was opened by Gordon McKay in a manner one expects to see from a worshipful master nearing the end of his tenure as WM. After the lodge business was transacted Kevin Poynton, Assistant Provincial Grand Master was welcomed into the lodge room where he was offered the gavel of the lodge by Gordon. He accepted the gavel and thanked the brethren for their warm welcome and returning the gavel to the WM said: “Worshipful master, I don’t doubt that you will need this for the ceremony ahead.”
Bill Briggs was presented to the lodge by Stan Crozier, also a past master of St Leonards Lodge No 6018, and before long Bill had been installed into the chair of King Solomon. The working tools were presented to the WM by Ken Mayren, Philip Cavanagh and Glynn Owen in the third, second and first degrees respectively. Stan Crozier gave an explanation of an appreciation of the American working tools, which were presented to St Leonards Lodge by two American soldiers who had been based at Weeton camp during the second world war. These tools were fabricated from parts of wrecked combat aircraft.
Kevin brought best wishes from Tony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master and said that if Tony had been there, he would have congratulated Gordon having installed Bill in a professional manner. He would have also given the heartiest of congratulations to Bill for once again taking up the opportunity of being WM of De Bon Cuer Lodge. One of Bill’s first tasks was a pleasant one in which he presented a number of cheques to Kevin who asked permission to read out the sums and their recipients. The North West Air Ambulance was to receive a cheque for £300 and the Friends of Wrightington Hospital were also to receive £300.
Following the closure of the lodge everyone reconvened in the dining room where a meal in convivial surroundings was shared by all. Here Kevin gave his own personal message to the WM and hoped that Bill would have a happy, enjoyable and healthy year in the chair.
Bill Briggs was born in Clitheroe in July 1943 and was educated at the Clitheroe Royal Grammar School between 1954 and 1961. He has had a lengthy and very interesting medical career being familiar with cytopathology, histopathology and microbiology. Each of these disciplines being worked on at various stages of his professional career at Chorley and District and Royal Preston hospitals between the years 1961 to 2004. He was also a part-time college, polytechnic and university lecturer between 1984 and 2003. He is a widower with two married daughters and four grandchildren.
Bill’s Freemasonry started when he was initiated into St Leonards Lodge No 6018 in December 1982 taking the chair of King Solomon for the first time in 1995. He was appointed assistant director of ceremonies in 1998 and held the post until 2003, when he was appointed director of ceremonies. In 2005 he took the WMs chair again. In 2007 he took on the role of assistant secretary and the charity steward from 2009. He agreed to be WM again in March 2013 and this was significant as St Leonards Lodge amalgamated with De Bon Cuer lodge. Bill is also a member of Cuerden Chapter No 6018 he was exalted in January 2007.
An excerpt from the lodge summons explains where the name of the lodge is derived:
“DE BON CUER (Old French) – OF GOOD HEART This inscription was on the inside of a gold signet ring found in Brindle some years ago. The ring bore the impression of a pelican vulnerant, also the name Langton, and was the seal of Richard Langton Esq., in the 15th century. Richard Langton was the grandson of Ralph de
Langton, the family of Langton being Lords of the Manor of Newton and Walton-le-Dale.”