The principal guest for the installation at Hawkshead Lodge No 4354 was the Provincial Senior Grand Warden Daniel Crossley who was accompanied by Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman Peter Schofield.
Set in the valley between Hawkshead Moor and Claife Heights sits the picturesque village of Hawkshead. Small the village may be but therein beats a very vibrant heart of many a Freemason. Although, due to the regulations regarding COVID in the Market Hall, numbers were restricted this year and instead of there being not a spare seat in the lodge, secretary Andrew Thompson had to deal with coping with many disappointed brethren as numbers were restricted to 40.
Outside the Market Hall stands a superb example of a No 6 red telephone box designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Not only did he design the telephone box that has now taken a back seat in our lives, but the Liverpool Cathedral and the new Bodleian Library. Thankfully, the local community came up with a splendid idea of recycling the ‘red box’ by hosting a defibulator.
Stepping into the principal office in the lodge again for the 5th occasion was David Cole, as he was again proclaimed WM of the lodge in a most moving ceremony. Due to ill health, many officers were asked to ‘fill-in’ for the ensuing year. Dennis Batey and Andrew Thompson once more were back in the roles that they thought they had vacated in 2019!
The presence of Dennis in the lodge is both commanding and calming, as all know, the helping hand of their director of ceremonies is never too far away. Another highlight of the evening was Andrew’s meticulous administration behind the scenes as secretary. Now living in the white rose county of Yorkshire, Andrew has effortlessly stepped into his old shoes and even adopted the new Zoom technology of the present day.
Realising that so many members lived miles apart from each other, the weekly Zoom meeting was both embraced and welcomed by all, as a way of keeping in touch with one another. It worked. It worked that well, it enabled fundraising on behalf of the lodge to continue at a pace. All Freemasons in the Furness and South Lakeland Group were asked to join raising money for charity – craft beer and a whisky tasting. One hastens to add, not at the same time. It was a great success, as the Hawkshead sense of fun refused to be taken into lockdown. Throughout the pandemic they managed to raise over £1,300 – a fabulous achievement.
As mentioned earlier, this is the beginning of David Cole’s 5th year as WM. He did say when achieving the principal chair of the lodge for the second time that it would be his last. But it is abundantly clear that David is committed to the longevity of the lodge at Hawkshead. He expressed, in an emotional manner, how grateful he was for the dedication and committed assistance given to him by ‘his team’ of devoted Freemasons. He said that, ‘their support is invaluable’.
David was pleased to announce that the lodge would be very busy in the coming year. He explained there was at least one new candidate waiting to join, plus a joining member. He added that the lodge would celebrate their centenary next year; a busy year indeed.
Having sent the visiting brethren out to search for refreshments in the village, the lodge members began to dismantle the lodge room and set up the dining room. As always, the Lake District weather gave Hawkshead installation a clear blue sky and not a breath of wind. Dark suits and blue ties seemed to spark an interest in the tourist hotspot. It was refreshing to hear so many speak so highly of our organisation. With David in the principal office, Daniel Crossley felt that the lodge would go from strength to strength in the ensuing year.
Back in the Market Hall, Daniel must have been impressed by Hawkshead’s own ‘Rick Wakeman’…as Paul Gregson entertained the room with his incredible array of stirring melodies from the ‘Last night of the Proms’ after the populous had finished dining. His musicianship is astounding. The meal was enjoyed by all and as the members stacked the chairs and put away the tables, the happy occasion ended having made new friends and rekindled old ones!