At the installation meeting of Royal Preston Lodge No 333, the members were honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Mark Dimelow, accompanied by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Bill Seddon, Ian Greenwood PJGD and Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton.
Those attending the installation witnessed an excellent ceremony as David Rhodes was installed as master of the lodge by installing master Simon Worswick. Simon was ably assisted by the lodge DC Jim Ainsworth and other members of the lodge. David was presented for installation by Fred Hewitt and at its conclusion, was addressed by Brian Hawkes.
The working tools were presented in an equally excellent manner by Peter Littlehales, Fred Hewitt and William Thompson. The addresses were well presented as follows; to the individual wardens by Teddy Foster; to both wardens by Jim Ainsworth; to the deacons and inner guard by Frank Rowe and that to the lodge brethren was delivered with great warmth and sincerity by the principal guest, Mark Dimelow.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Mark brought the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master, to both David in taking the chair for the fourth time and to Simon for the commendable manner in which he had installed his successor. David then had the pleasure of presenting a cheque to the value of £333 in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Fred Hewitt then had equal pleasure in presenting Simon with his past master’s jewel. In this case, the jewel had particular significance as it had originally been presented to the lodge by Simon’s proposer into Freemasonry, his own late father.
Later in the evening in his response to the toast to the grand officers, Mark, on his own behalf, commended Simon on the level of preparation he had obviously done, a level which was easily recognised by the high standard of the ritual performed during the ceremony. He congratulated David on achieving the chair of the lodge for the fourth time, noting that David must now be a bit of an expert as, during his Masonic career, he has also held the WM’s position in two other lodges. He gave high praise to the brethren who delivered the working tools in such an eloquent manner, in particular mentioning the work of master Mason William Thompson.
Mark went on to remind the brethren that, in Freemasonry, nothing stays the same. However the PrGM has indicated that he would like a period of settlement to allow everyone to enjoy their Masonry. He acknowledged that the 3 R’s; Recruitment, Retention and Retrieval are having a positive effect. With regards to recruitment, he encouraged lodge members to become ambassadors for Freemasonry, to talk openly to friends, family and others on the subject of Freemasonry. In terms of retention, he thanked Steve Handley for continuing as the lodge mentor, reminding the brethren that in order to be effective Steve needs the support and assistance of lodge members. If mentoring achieves its objectives, the need for retrieval becomes academic.
The importance of Masonic halls was mentioned by Mark, he congratulating Preston on the magnificent turnaround that had been accomplished in recent times; in particular commending the many brethren who had worked so hard to achieve this success. He urged the brethren to give maximum support to their halls and help to build on their success.
In closing his response, Mark thanked the lodge for the donation made at the conclusion of the installation ceremony, remarking that it was a significant amount for what is a relatively small lodge. He reminded brethren that donations by way of the gift aid envelope scheme increases the donation to the particular charity at no extra cost to the brethren. In this way the WLFMC has been able to recover some £23,000 from the Inland Revenue.
The festive celebrations were enhanced by a delightful rendition of the master’s song given by Ian Ronson accompanied by Mike Hatton on the piano.