Daren Gardner, a manager with the Royal Mail was delivered into the chair of Thornton and Cleveleys Lodge No 3854 in a dignified and sincere manner by his proposer into Freemasonry, Brian Chapman.
Peter Pemberton who was representing the Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison was pleased to have the support of Duncan Smith, chairman of the North Fylde group of lodges, Peter Greathead, group vice chairman, Raymond Neal, Tony Hough and a number of acting provincial grand officers.
Alexander (Sandy) Walls quickly and effectively dispatched the business of the lodge before inviting Brian to take the chair to carry out the ceremony of installation. Brian proceeded to invite Tony Farrar to act as installing senior warden, Shaun Haynes to act as installing junior warden and Ian Smith to act as installing inner guard. Daren was then presented by Alan Fairhurst.
The working tools were presented by Michael Smiles, Richard Peat and Mark Spragg, with Mark’s presentation of the first degree tools being greeted with applause from all present.
John Lee then delivered a faultless address to Daren which was followed by addresses to the wardens by Gordon Major; to the stewards by Eric Peat and to the brethren by Peter Pemberton.
At the conclusion of the installation Peter congratulated Brian on the manner in which he had installed Daren and expressed his wish for Daren to have a happy and healthy year in office.
Daren was delighted to present a number of cheques to Peter and, on receiving them, Peter informed the brethren that the cheques were in favour of the following charities: £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £100 to Homestart Wyre, £100 to Brian House, £500 to Hug in a bag, £250 to Caudwell Children, £400 to the Cleveleys Masonic hall children’s Christmas party, £150 to the Ashleigh Foundation, and £150 to North West Air Ambulance; a magnificent total of £2,150.
Hug in a Bag is a charity that originated in Sunderland approximately 14 years ago. The Blackpool arm of the charity was launched in November 2012 by two local ‘cancer free’ ladies, Deborah Marr and Jacqueline Rhodes, supported by a few enthusiastic friends acting as fund raising members. Now nearly 4 years on Blackpool Hug have been successful in forming a committee, gaining charitable status, raising over £40,000 and, most importantly, providing over 950 gifts in the form of a Hug in a Bag to those diagnosed with breast cancer in the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde area.
HUG stands for Help, Understanding and Glamour and each bag which is given to recently diagnosed people contains toiletries, information leaflets and is full of pampering gifts to make each person feel glamorous and special during a particularly challenging time. Each year 300 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde area; with five cases being male (the highest rate of male breast cancer in the Country). The charity’s aim is to raise money to fund the bags which will be given out by the breast cancer nurses at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Each bag costs £50 to produce and to achieve the task of ensuring each person receives such a lovely gift, £15,000 per annum needs to be raised.
Home-Start Wyre provides a unique service for families, recruiting and training volunteers to support parents of children at home.
Following the installation ceremony, the brethren enjoyed a fine three-course meal at the conclusion of which the brethren were treated to an excellent and unusual rendition of the master’s song. Hugh Mett, Shaun Haynes and Roger Lloyd Jones are all good friends of Daren’s and all being excellent singers wanted to sing the master song to Daren on his special day. After much discussion they decided to sing a verse each with an extra verse at the end sung by all three; a happy compromise.
In Peter’s response to the toast to the Provincial grand officers, he made pleasing positive reference to the era of our new Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, indicating that Tony would be looking to continue stability, openness, transparency and to encourage all of us to talk about Freemasonry in the positive manner we know it to be, emphasising honesty, integrity and fairness. He made reference to recruitment, retention and retrieval and the important roles of the group membership officers, the mentors and to the group publicity team but, more importantly, the way in which we can all act as ambassadors for Freemasonry.
Peter’s final point was with regard to Royal Arch Freemasonry, the completion of the third degree being realised, and he described it an analogy of a series of four television dramas you enjoy; you see the first three but you miss the last one – how disappointed would you be?