The Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction Festival continues to be an inspiring event. It has always enjoyed a prestigious president.
At its 69th festival, held at Cleveleys Masonic Hall, the preceptors and members were honoured to receive as president, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger. David has for many years been a staunch supporter of the Lodge of Instruction meetings in Barrow-in-Furness as well as many festivals on the Fylde coast.
On his entry into the Lodge of Instruction, David was supported by a fine array of grand officers. These included Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox; there were six other grand officers led by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson and North Fylde Group Chairman Duncan Smith. There were also four Provincial grand officers led by acting Provincial Grand Sword Bearer David Kenworthy, who joined the procession. Chairman of South Fylde Group Ian Ward was already in the lodge in his capacity as a senior preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction.
David was welcomed into the lodge by its master John Bainbridge, who then offered him the gavel of his office. In response, David thanked the lodge for their welcome and the great honour of inviting him to be the President of the Festival before returning the gavel to the master.
Director of ceremonies David Lawn explained to the brethren assembled how the meeting would progress, and introduced the members of the festival team. These included the normal lodge officers plus a team of six lecturers in three teams of two.
The lodge was opened in the second and third degrees and the lectures began. The floor team responsible for opening and closing the lodge in all degrees was led by the master John Bainbridge. John was ably assisted by Andrew Harwood, Paul Darlington, Chris O’Brien, Colin Taylor and Kevin Frost. Ken Turner stood guard outside the door of the lodge.
The first lecture commenced with Arthur Lea asking a series of questions concerning the traditional history of the master Mason’s degree, as well as the signs, tokens and words relating thereto. These questions were answered excellently by Norman Prue, who is an expert ritualist. Norman is also the former secretary of the Lodge of Instruction.
The second lecture commenced with principal preceptor Abdul Benashour asking questions about the second degree tracing board with the ornaments and history to which it refers. These questions were expertly answered by another preceptor Chris Perfect, who has been involved in many parts of countless festivals in the past.
The final lecture was led by Brian Davey who had travelled from Barrow-in-Furness to participate, questioning Roger Walker, a stalwart of the Lodge of Instruction, on several principles that are inculcated by a study of different aspects of the first degree. These questions were answered with accuracy and precision and were finalised by a remarkable account of the flight of the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage.
The lodge was closed in the third and second degrees and Vice President of the Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction Harry Cox thanked the President of the Festival for having honoured the lodge by his acceptance of that office.
In his response, David congratulated the festival team on the excellent quality of their work. Having witnessed many a festival, David’s praise was honour indeed for the time and hard work required to present the lectures to such a high degree of quality and excellence.
With these formalities concluded, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master/President of the Festival, retired in the company of his distinguished entourage of grand and Provincial grand officers. Following their retirement, the secretary Glenn O’Brien recorded a list of apologies led by that of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. The lodge was then duly closed.
After relaxing in the bar, the brethren proceeded to the dining hall for a fine feast and on completing the meal, the usual toasts were observed. The toast to the President of the Festival was proposed by Roger Perry. He advised that David Grainger was indeed a most appropriate president having in the early days of his Masonic career joined the northern branch of the Lodge of Instruction which had been held at Barrow in those early days.
Roger also advised that David had once received the award for the young brother who had made the greatest progress in Emulation ritual for that year. David had also continued on and became the secretary of that branch, having been a lecturer at a Northern Lodge of Instruction Festival. Roger continued by describing the steps which had led to David’s progression to senior offices in both Craft and chapter Masonry within the Province of West Lancashire.
In response, the president thanked Roger for his very kind words and thanked the preceptors and members of the Fylde Group Lodge of Instruction for their very generous invitation to him to become their latest president. He assured the brethren that he was aware of the very many illustrious people that he was following, including our own Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and the Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire, Sir David Trippier.
Assuring everyone that they had just witnessed a masterclass, David continued by encouraging brethren to join and take part in the Lodge of Instruction that they may in time inculcate the necessary skills, determination and commitment to learn how to perform ritual properly. It then fell to senior preceptor Abdul Benashour to present a gift to David Grainger to thank him for his acceptance of the presidency of the festival and flowers for his wife Beryl.
The evening was brought to a close by the traditional tyler’s toast which was proposed by Ken Turner.