David Christopherson was installed as the master of St Michaels on Wyre Lodge No 8348 in what was described as a sincere and dignified ceremony held in a packed lodge room at Wyrebank, Garstang.
The brethren were delighted to welcome Provincial Junior Grand Warden Jonathan Heaton as the representative of the Provincial Grand Master who was supported by a veritable phalanx of acting Provincial grand officers – far too numerous to mention individually – who had joined Jonathan in what was his last visit to a lodge as the representative before leaving office.
Also supporting Jonathan were grand officers Malcolm Worsley, Lancaster Group Chairman Jim Wilson and Jim Woods together with group vice chairman Neil McGill and group secretary Scott Devine.
The master-elect was presented for installation by Peter Pemberton, David’s proposer into Freemasonry, before installing master Mike Kilroy proceeded to conduct the ceremony of placing David in the chair of King Solomon in a proficient, sincere and dignified manner which was choreographed to perfection under the ever-watchful eye of lodge director of ceremonies Allan Brown.
The address to the master was superbly given by David Catterall and that to the wardens was delivered with precision and emphasis by Peter Pemberton. The all-important address to the brethren was expertly given by Jonathan Heaton.
The explanation of the working tools of an installed master is not a universal feature at installation ceremonies but adds a degree of completeness and on this occasion the explanation was given by David Goodwin.
The presentation of the working tools of a master Mason, fellow craft and entered apprentice were given to great acclaim by Graham Morris, David Gardiner and Kevin Rawcliffe respectively. Indeed, Kevin’s performance was especially and spontaneously appreciated by everyone present as he still sports the white apron of an entered apprentice having joined the lodge only some seven months previously.
Following the appointment and investiture of officers for the ensuing year it was announced that the installation ceremony had been concluded which, of course, marked the cue for Jonathan to rise and bring greetings to the master and brethren from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison.
He said that Tony would have been absolutely delighted with the occasion and would certainly have wished Jonathan to congratulate the immediate past and installing master Mike Kilroy, not only for his work in the installation ceremony, but for all he had done during his year in office and as an excellent ambassador for the lodge and Freemasonry.
On behalf of Tony he wished all the officers and brethren of the lodge a very busy and successful year but most of all a happy and healthy one to enjoy it to the full.
David responded in kind and directed Jonathan’s attention to the immediate past master who presented him with details of the lodge’s charitable donations during the year which, upon opening, was greeted with very pleasant amazement as the total was more than £8,000.
During the year, the immediate past master Mike Kilroy had worked very hard to raise funds in support of the Alzheimer’s Society which resulted in the sum of £4,688 going to this, his chosen charity. The lodge had also presented a cheque in the sum of £1,500 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival which, of course, means that the lodge is now a vice-patron of the Festival.
Other donations included amounts to MIND, St Michael’s on Wyre Parish Church, Leonard Cheshire Oaklands, Pilling Band and Garstang Masonic Hall, which together with gift aid contributions amounted to a staggering total of £8,348.
Jonathan was quite overwhelmed saying that it was the highest total he had encountered during his year in office and thanked all the brethren of the lodge on behalf of all the people whom they would never know, but to whom the donations would make a difference.
The Festival of St John was held in the magnificent Wyrebank Banqueting Suite where almost 80 brethren enjoyed a superb banquet and a very convivial evening.
In his response to the toast to the Provincial grand officers, Jonathan took the opportunity to offer his own congratulations to David Christopherson as master of the lodge and to all who had taken office. He acknowledged and thanked group chairman Jim Wilson for affording him the opportunity to represent the Provincial Grand Master at such a fine lodge and expressed his appreciation of the help given by the lodge secretary Ian Barker and director of ceremonies Allan Brown.
Jonathan then continued to apprise the brethren of some of the important issues from the Province as a whole. He urged all brethren who are master Masons to attend Provincial Grand Lodge in Blackpool when this year the ceremony and banquet would all be at the same venue. The pageantry of the occasion alone was a stirring sight to behold.
He again praised St Michael’s on Wyre Lodge for attaining vice patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival and stressed the absolute need to continue to support our Masonic charities. He thanked the lodge almoner for his work and indicated that we should all be mindful of the need to be aware and report any brother or his dependent who may be in need of support.
Jonathan indicated that our new care structure was working so well that the retiring Provincial Grand Almoner Ernie Greenhalgh had been requested to make presentations to other Provinces on how our own care structure is organised.
He said that the issues of recruitment, retention and retrieval continued to be crucial but initiatives such as the new ‘Pathway Project’ were aimed at ensuring that we attract the ‘right’ men – and only the right men – to our Order for the future. In conclusion, he exhorted the brethren to continue to enjoy their Freemasonry and for that enjoyment to be publicly obvious to project the proper image of our great institution to others.
After the toast to the master, proposed by immediate past master Mike Kilroy, the master’s song was superbly given a cappella by John Darrell. A very fitting conclusion to the evening came with the announcement that the amount raised for charity from the raffle and other donations on the evening amounted to £572.