To allow the senior warden to pursue a personal year of enterprise and to encourage a more natural progression on the lodge ‘ladder’ of officers Colin McNamee, the master of Longridge Lodge No 8077, has graciously agreed to remain in office for another year and was proclaimed as such at the lodge’s installation meeting held at Wyrebank, Garstang.
The brethren of this fine and venerable lodge were delighted to welcome principal guest Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden Peter Schofield who was accompanied by one of the lodge’s ‘famous founders’ in the form of Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master Tom Blackburn, equally esteemed member of the lodge Howard Jones, also a PDPrGM, together with the chairman of the Lancaster and District group Jim Wilson and fellow grand officer Chris Butterfield.
Peter was also supported by two acting Provincial officers from the group: Provincial Junior Grand Deacon Bernard Snape and Provincial Grand Steward Chris Larder, together with group secretary Scott Devine.
The ceremony was later described as ‘short and sweet’ – inevitably short due to the very nature of a proclamation, but very definitely sweet as it lost nothing in terms of sincerity or dignity; sweet because small touches of humour lifted the proceedings, but most of all sweet thanks to Colin’s graciousness in agreeing to rule and govern the lodge for another year.
The working tools of the three Masonic degrees were given by three ‘light blues’ whose excellent delivery of such augurs extremely well for the fortunes of the lodge into the future. The working tools of a master Mason were explained by Tony Ollerton; those of a fellowcraft by Matthew Mason and the working tools of an entered apprentice were explained by Clifton Carefoot, the grandson of the late Walter Carefoot, one of the lodge founders and its very first master. All received great acclaim from the assembled brethren.
This being a proclamation there was, of course, no address to the master but Peter Schofield reprised his role as warden of the Province with a superb address to the wardens.
The address to the brethren could have been in no better hands than those of Tom Blackburn who delivered his usual sincere and meaningful delivery which could not have been bettered by anyone from the Shakespeare Theatre Company!
Tom’s address brought to a close the ‘installation’ part of the occasion and marked the cue for Peter Schofield to rise and bring greetings from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison.
Peter indicated that Tony was well aware of the occasion and, had he been able to be present in person, would undoubtedly have been impressed by not only the manner in which the proceedings had been conducted but by the way in which lodge officers and members had worked together to take the lodge forward.
On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter thanked Colin for staying in office for another year and for his work during the past year. He congratulated all who had taken office and wished all the officers and brethren the very best of health to enjoy the coming year to the full which he hoped would be a busy one, but most of all a happy and enjoyable one.
Peter was delighted to receive notice of donations made by the lodge to charity and good causes amounting to £1,100 which consisted of £1,000 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and £100 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
However, this figure was just the figurative tip of the iceberg for during its Masonic year the lodge had actually donated, inclusive of gift aid, more than £11,000 to charity and good causes.
In April 2016 the lodge had celebrated its golden jubilee and in recognition of such presented a cheque in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for £8,077 – the number of the lodge (see Longridge has a lot to celebrate). In addition £1,000 had been given to Rosemere Cancer Care and £300 to the Garstang Masonic Hall refurbishment fund which, with other donations, secured the incredible and magnificent total.
The Festival of St John was held in the splendid Wyrebank Banqueting Suite when the assembled brethren enjoyed good fayre, good wine and most of all good company.
In response to the toast to the health of the Provincial officers Peter Schofield appreciated the opportunity to bring his personal greetings and best wishes to the master, officers and brethren of the lodge. He remarked that the lodge undoubtedly had a great future judging by the excellent manner in which the working tools had been delivered by comparatively junior brethren – a comment which again prompted tangible recognition from everyone.
Peter was very thankful to Jim Wilson for the opportunity to represent the Provincial Grand Master and also to be in the presence of Tom Blackburn whom, Peter mused, had been present when Peter attained the chair of his own lodge for the first time and which had caused him some consternation at the time. Nonetheless, he supposed his performance could not have been all bad as Tom had actually written a nice comment on the souvenir menu card – a card which Peter had brought with him and suggested that Tom may wish to append a further comment on his performance as representative!
He also appreciated the support of grand officers Howard Jones and Chris Butterfield and the acting Provincial officers who put in so much time and distance in carrying out their duties.
Peter went on to apprise the brethren on important Provincial initiatives. On behalf of the Provincial Grand Master he implored the brethren to support the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and ensure that the Province maintained its reputation for generosity.
He reinforced the importance of the principles of recruitment, retention and retrieval and outlined the work of the Membership Focus Group and the Pathway Project which it is hoped will lead the way in ensuring the selection of the right men to join our institution.
He enjoined everyone to continue to enjoy their Freemasonry and to share that enjoyment with non-Masons by proclaiming the benefit we all gain from membership. Peter concluded by thanking all who had worked to make the occasion such a success – not least of which being the staff of Wyrebank.
The master’s song was superbly rendered by Graham Timbrell accompanied by Fred Parker and the festive board raffle increased the lodge’s coffers by a further £184.