With the Masonic Tercentenary celebrations upon us it was interesting indeed to be in attendance at the installation meeting of the Lodge of Triumph No 1061, which has been in existence for a little over half of that 300 years. Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, the principal guest for the meeting was to advise those present that it was the 152nd installation meeting where a new master had been installed in the lodge; there having been no occasion when a reigning master had been declared for a second year.
Cometh the moment, cometh the men therefore! First mention was of Alan Dentith the installing master who had just completed an excellent year in the chair, having enjoyed several successful sports and social occasions. Alan had the pleasure of handing cheques for charitable causes to David Grainger for the accumulated sum of £3,000. The two main recipients of the lodge’s generosity were the West Lancashire Freemason’s Charity which received £850 and the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival which received £750. David thanked the lodge on behalf of the beneficiaries for what he described as ‘an excellent sum of money.’
On his arrival into the lodge meeting, David was supported by the Chairman of the South Fylde Group of lodges and chapters Ian Ward, along with his vice chairman John-Robbie Porter, on this occasion representing the group. Also in attendance were regional charity steward Ted Rhodes, grand officer John Parkinson and several acting Provincial officers. Salutations were led by director of ceremonies Dave Barr, with suitable responses from David Grainger on his own behalf, John Parkinson for the grand officers and Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden Danny Chester for the Provincial officers.
A fine ceremony of installation then ensued with excellent individual displays of Masonic ritual, ably led from the front by Alan Dentith, assisted by Dave Barr who led the brethren through the perambulations and John Topping who led them through the greetings. During the perambulations the working tools were expertly delivered by Peter Gratrix in the third degree, Edward Oldfield in the second degree and Roger Weston in the first degree. Senior warden Noel Dentith received an explanation of his insignia and jewels by Liam Bird for whom this section of ritual is a pièce de résistance. The jewels of the junior warden were precisely described to Alan Barlow by Gordon McLean and inner guard Roger Weston received a fine description of his jewel by Dolph Taylor. Liam, Gordon and Dolph were the installing officers in each instance.
The main addresses began with that to the master, delivered in his own inimitable and passionate manner by Brian Pearson. When it comes to pièces de résistance, Brian has this address ‘nailed’ as the saying goes. No master on the receiving end can ever be in doubt about what his duties and responsibilities are! Ted Rhodes delivered the address to the wardens in a more measured but nonetheless splendid manner, followed by David Grainger who addressed the members of the lodge with that refinement of delivery born of experience and superior position.
Under the heading ‘any other business’ Ian Ward was pleased to present a cheque for £700 to St Anne’s Masonic Hall chairman Geoff Crosland. This money had been raised during a bike ride from Liverpool to Barrow, known as the ‘end2end’ bike ride; the starting and finishing points representing the southern and northern most points of the Province of West Lancashire. A sum of £1,400 was raised in all and the second cheque would be presented to Poulton le Fylde Masonic hall director Derek Parsons at Baines Lodge No 7844 the following week.
After the ceremonial part of the evening, the brethren retired to the banqueting suite where they enjoyed a sumptuous four course meal served by the staff of Square & Compasses Catering. Following the meal a toast to the grand officers was proposed by Conrad Petrus and received a response from David Grainger who noted that he had been attending meetings at St Anne’s Palace for over 20 years and, jokingly, observed that he had always found Liam Bird to be ‘quiet and retiring!’ After much mirth David continued by congratulating Alan Dentith and the installing officers on a fine ceremony. David described the Lodge of Triumph as a good lodge with a fine reputation. He wished Conrad a happy, healthy and successful year in the chair and thanked everyone in the lodge for their generosity in presenting such a fine array of cheques to so many separate causes.
David also congratulated the South Fylde group officers for the work that they do, particularly the charity team who were already working hard towards the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. He further encouraged the brethren to check out the Tercentenary website and advise Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent of any celebrations or events being planned by their lodges during the ensuing year.
In his toast to the master, Alan Dentith wished Conrad good health and good fortune for the year ahead, adding some amusing quips about Conrad the man and finishing by presenting the new master with a menu card signed by all present. The master’s song was performed by Hugh Mett in his ever ebullient style, accompanied by guest organist Phil Bolton who had enhanced the whole meeting with his often amusing choices of music. A fine evening concluded with the tyler’s toast delivered by Ken Turner.