The installation ceremony of Victoria Lodge No 4629, held in the McCausland Suite at Widnes Masonic Hall, had a touch of a family affair about it as the master elect Owen Davies was presented for installation by his father-in-law Dave Lewis.
Owen is a 32 year old IT Purchasing Manager who is engaged to his partner Steph and they have three children. Owen said that he is looking forward to his year in office, is keen and ambitious and looking forward to working with the team, visiting other lodges and raising money for a cancer trust.
Worshipful master of the lodge Rob Bazley quickly and efficiently dispatched the initial business of the lodge before Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell announced that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton was outside the door of the lodge and demanded admission. Rob replied that the members would be pleased and honoured to receive him.
Kevin entered the lodge in a procession accompanied by Widnes Group Chairman Derek Williams, grand officer Alan Lamont and acting Provincial officers. Rob gave Kevin a warm welcome and offered him the gavel of the lodge to which Kevin thanked Rob for the warm welcome and said: “I accept the gavel as is my right, but you’re getting it back.”
Following on from the salutations, Rob asked Matt Baldwin to act as senior warden for the installation, which he did after being given very short notice due to unfortunate circumstances. Frank Parle acted as junior warden and Brian Harris remained as inner guard. Dave Lewis then presented Owen to Rob to receive at his hands the benefit of installation.
Rob conducted the installation ceremony in a very smooth and efficient manner and placed Owen into the chair of King Solomon with firmness and sincerity under the watchful guidance of the acting director of ceremonies Dave Lewis. The working tools of an installed master were explained to Owen by Brian Harris.
With Owen now established in the WM’s chair master Masons, fellowcrafts and entered apprentices were admitted in turn and Dave declared Owen the WM in each degree. The working tools of the third degree were explained by Jamie Gibbon, the working tools of the second degree were explained by Karl Spencer and the working tools of the first degree were explained by George Shields. All explanations were worthy of merit. Owen then proceeded to appoint and invest his officers for the ensuing year with friendly confidence.
The duties of the senior warden were explained by Matt Baldwin, the duties of the junior warden and the address to the stewards was given by Frank Parle. Dave Lewis gave the address to the WM, Peter Kenny gave the address to the wardens and Kevin Poynton gave the address to the brethren of Victoria Lodge. All of which were extremely well delivered.
As soon as it was announced that it was the end of the installation ceremony Kevin said: “That is my cue to stand and bring the best wishes and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the new WM on attaining the chair of King Solomon.” Kevin continued by saying that if Tony had been present he would have wanted to congratulate the installing master and all who took part for a very well run ceremony and wish Owen and all his officers have a happy year in office.
Rob Bazley then presented Kevin with a list of the cheques to be given as charity donations from money raised during his year in office. There were five cheques each for £200 to the following; West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Valiant (a local gymnastics club for young people who have a disability and meet at Kingsway Leisure Centre), Royal British Legion (Widnes Branch), Alzheimer’s Society and Widnes Masonic Hall Limited.
Kevin said that these are fantastic amounts and will improve the standards of many people’s lives and on behalf of the recipients he thanked the lodge members for their generosity and added that the cheques are thankfully received and will be faithfully applied.
After the first rising Kevin and his entourage retired leaving Owen to complete the lodge business and close the lodge and then all retired to the festive board for a superb four course meal produced by the hall caterers and to help with the digestion there was wine, with tea or coffee at the end of the meal.
In response to the toast to his health, Kevin reminded the brethren of the tercentenary celebration of Freemasonry which will take place in 2017 and if anyone has any ideas for a celebration to contact Tony Bent and discuss it with him. Kevin was pleased to see the magnificent donations to charity and added that with the upcoming festival we must all be aware that the WLFC still needs the support from all lodges in the Province and there is a great need to look after our Masonic halls.
With regard to membership, Kevin said that there has been a slight increase and recommended all light blues in Widnes to get involved with the Widnes Light Blue Club and suggested that all who are not in Royal Arch to join as soon as possible.
Kevin then offered his personal congratulations on a wonderful installation ceremony saying that everybody played their part very well. He also offered his grateful thanks to Malcolm Bell for all his hard work.
Following the toast to the WM, Norman Pritchard sang the master’s song in his own personal style with accompaniment provided by Dennis Myers.
The toast to visiting brethren was responded to by George Christie, WM of Epworth Lodge No 5381 and a member of Thistle and Crown Lodge No 1167 in the Scottish Constitution, whom Owen met in the crypt of Liverpool Cathedral while on a whisky tasting day with other members of the lodge.
Ian Black proposed the final toast of the evening, the tyler’s toast; this ended a very friendly, social and happy festive board.