Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, was the honoured guest at meeting number 855 of Borough Lodge No 3996, it being the installation of Ron Pearson into the chair of King Solomon at Bryn Masonic Hall.
The lodge members were delighted to receive Howard, as he is due to stand down from his exalted position in May and this was probably to be his last visit to the Wigan Group as Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Howard was well supported on his visit and accompanied by no less than five grand officers including Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent, who has responsibility for the Wigan Group, Malcolm Taylor (Wigan Group Chairman), Geoffrey Bent (PAGDC), Graeme Hughes (PAGDC) and David Ogden (PAGDC), together with acting Provincial officers Barry Dickinson (PrDGReg), Dave Thomas (PrDGDC), Tony Simms (PrJGD), Eric Bailey (PrAGSuptWks) and Ken Wilson (PrGStwd) and supported by group officers John Lomax (local care officer) and John Parrot (group charity steward).
The lodge was opened by the worshipful master Brian Bawden who conducted the regular business before Dave Thomas announced the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the other distinguished guests, who were received into the lodge and welcomed. The usual honours and greetings being completed Brian went ahead to install his successor.
Brian is well known in the Wigan Group, particularly through his tireless and continual work on behalf of the hall and Ashton Masonic Properties, and is definitely regarded as something of a character. It is no surprise then that Brian conducted the ceremony with his own unique style, in a manner later described by the principal guest as entertaining. Brian was ably assisted by a number of brethren from the lodge.
Ron was presented by Jim Jackson and went on to recite his obligation word perfect and was eventually placed into the chair. Junior brethren, Phil Hughes and Jim Seddon respectively, presented the third and second degree working tools impeccably, the latter delivering the seldom heard long version of the second. Dave Roberts completed the trio with the first degree working tools. Ron then went on to appoint and invest his officers and delivered the address to the new lodge mentor Eric Mercer. Alan Cunliffe delivered the address to the WM, Bryn Procter delivered the address to the wardens and of course Howard delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge.
Howard brought the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master, who he said, would have enjoyed what was a very entertaining ceremony. He congratulated Ron on achieving the chair and on the manner in which it was done, making special mention of excellent performances of some of those taking part, particularly the junior brethren who had delivered the working tools. Howard was pleased to receive charitable donations in the sum of £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and £272 to Ashton Masonic Hall Development Fund.
Ron is an experienced Mason and holds the rank of PPrGStwd following a very, very busy year in acting rank. He is a past master of Willows Lodge No 5343.
A superb festive board followed a superb ceremony, with seafood platter, fillet of chicken Dijon, cheesecake and a nice selection of cheese, all washed down with fine wine. The atmosphere was lively and friendly, with Paul O’Brien singing the master’s song in his own inimitable style with musical accompaniment from Les Campbell.