A warm welcome is always guaranteed at Wayfarers Lodge No 7544 and their installation ceremony is a prime example of this when 50 brethren came together to celebrate Darren Varley’s long-awaited rise to the master’s chair.
Darren, a motor mechanic by trade, is a keen motorcyclist who loves nothing more than donning his gear and getting out on to the open road and has spent many an hour with fellow Wayfarers Lodge member and lodge director of ceremonies Mick Thistlethwaite. A love of two wheels has seen him twice take to the roads of Europe on touring holidays.
The installation meeting was opened by Barry Thompson who has looked after the lodge for the past three years, having been installed prior to the pandemic lockdown. Barry, an experienced Freemason, ably competed the necessary early business of the lodge and warmly thanked the members of the lodge who had supported him and taken up office during his mastership.
At the appropriate moment in proceedings the lodge director of ceremonies, who had previously retired from the lodge room, re-entered to announce the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews, Chairman of the South Fylde Group John Robbie Porter who was accompanied by Malcolm Worsley, Jim Woods, Rowand Tait, John Cross the Chairman of the North Fylde Group and acting Provincial Senior Grand Deacon Paul Smedley.
Barry requested the assistance of Bob Hopwood, Ron Newton and Gordon Smith to act as installing officers. Darren was then presented for installation by Mick Thistlethwaite, his proposer into Freemasonry. Once Darren had given his assent to the necessary qualifications and after moving to the master’s pedestal, Darren proceeded to deliver his obligation with confidence.
Barry asked those below the rank of an installed master to leave the room and the lodge of installed masters was opened. Barry excelled himself displaying a high standard of ritual in installing Darren into the chair. Within the inner workings the seldom-seen working tools of an installed master were delivered by Mike Thistlethwaite.
The inner workings complete, the Masons of each degree were readmitted to the lodge room and the working tools were presented by Ewen Macpherson for the third degree, Keith Senior for the second degree and finally Peter Thompson for the first degree.
Mick Thistlethwaite once again rose to his feet to deliver the address to the master. As the new master, Darren’s first role was to install his officers. During this part of the ceremony, the address to the wardens was delivered by Gordon Smith, the address to the deacons was delivered by Ian Hawtin, the address to the stewards was delivered by Bob Marsden and finally the biggest surprise and talking point of the evening was the delivery of the address to the brethren of the lodge by John Robbie Porter who gave an animated and extended version of the address.
Once the ceremony was completed John Robbie took the opportunity to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master. Darren then presented John Robbie with cheques destined for charities totalling £7,215
After Darren had closed the lodge for the first time as master, the brethren moved to the dining room to continue the evening’s festivities, where the brethren enjoyed a three-course festive board during which a raffle raised a magnificent £465 towards 2023 charitable donations.