The installation meeting of Ribble Lodge No 4558 saw David Asbridge pass the gavel of the lodge to Mark Dunn. The principal guest was Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger who was accompanied by his colleague David Winder and supported by the group vice chairman Geoff Saul and visiting master David Rhodes.
Although Mark had previously served as master of a lodge, this would be his first time as master of Ribble Lodge. As a result the ceremony of installation was carried out in full by the participating members of the lodge.
Mark was duly presented to the installing WM David Asbridge by David Winder. To have an Assistant Provincial Grand Master as your presenting officer is a high honour indeed, making the occasion rather special. This was further amplified when David Winder went on to address the new WM following his installation.
The working tools of the third, second and first degrees were all presented in an excellent manner by Keith Dowley, John Rimmer and entered apprentice David Pendelbury respectively. The address to the wardens was given by Peter Maddison, with all the other appointed officers being addressed in turn and concluded with the principal guest David Grainger, addressing the brethren.
At the conclusion of the ceremony David brought the congratulations and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, commenting on the excellent manner in which Mark had been installed into the chair by his predecessor. Mark then had the pleasure of presenting a cheque to David for the sum of £375 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Later in the evening David Grainger, on his own behalf, congratulated the lodge members on the excellence of the ceremony that he had witnessed earlier. He noted that the lodge was just nine years away from celebrating its centenary and was sure the founders of the lodge would be justly proud of the efforts successive masters and brethren had put in to ensure the continued success of the lodge.
He went on to congratulate David Asbridge on his year in office and the excellent manner that he had acted as an ambassador for the lodge and also all those who had taken office in the earlier ceremony wishing them all the best for the ensuing year.
Continuing, David mentioned recruitment as being in the forefront of progress today and the constant need to look out for good men and true to join our fraternity. He was aware that young men today have lots of pressures placed on them and that we need to be cautious to recruit the right people. Equally, having recruited them we need to make sure that our lodges are friendly and inviting places where they can feel welcome as a vital part of our organization.
David then turned to membership of the Royal Arch. He agreed that although it is important, potential candidates must be given time to complete their journey through ancient Freemasonry. They should not be pressurised into joining before, in their own minds, they are ready to take the next step in their Masonic journey.
Moving on to the Masonic charities, David thanked the lodge for the donation made in support of the WLFC earlier encouraging brethren to use the yellow envelope scheme that allows gift aid to be claimed on their contributions. He reminded brethren of the forthcoming annual Freemasons’ charity dinner and cabaret being held at Southport Floral Hall encouraging as many as possible to give it their support.
In promoting attendance at the next meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, David said that it is being held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool followed by dining at the Hilton. He reminded brethren that this year there would only be one meeting and with it the opportunity to support Tony Harrison and the brethren of the lodge who are to receive Provincial honours or promotions on that day. He congratulated Mike Cowsley on his forthcoming appointment to acting rank and Martin Wootton and Andrew Ashcroft on their impending promotions.
David continued his response by informing brethren of the future 2017 tercentenary celebration of the formation of the first Grand Lodge and that Tony Bent had been tasked with drawing up ideas as to how the Province could celebrate the occasion. He encouraged anyone with suitable constructive suggestions to make their ideas known to Tony via the Provincial office.
Concluding, David thanked the lodge secretary Derek Thompson, for his kind letter of welcome and assistance during the evening and also the lodge DC Andrew Ashcroft, for his direction in the temple and at the festive board and finally, wished the lodge well for the future.