There was something very refreshing about to happen at Fairhaven Lodge No 5076 as the members and guests assembled for their most recent meeting. A second initiation in as many months was in prospect and those who had attended the previous meeting were looking forward to an excellent ceremony – and they weren’t to be disappointed!
With the lodge administration promptly dealt with, master of the lodge Philip Low invited lodge mentor Neil Curtis to occupy the chair for the purpose of initiating the candidate Mr Melvyn Charles Gray. A faultless and very enjoyable ceremony ensued with the assistance of junior warden and charity steward Terry Stevens-Lewing delivering the north-east address with aplomb. The working tools were very ably presented by senior deacon Andrew Harwood and the candidate was invested with his badge by his proposer senior warden John Conroy. As at the previous meeting, when the lodge initiated David Arrow, the charge after initiation was delivered by Terry Stevens-Lewing in fine style. Throughout, the candidate was capably guided by junior deacon Mick Steel.
The initiation proceedings were concluded by Ian Ward, Chairman of the South Fylde Group welcoming Melvyn into Freemasonry and presented him with a ‘welcome letter’ and information pack. Ian continued by assuring Melvyn that he had joined a very fine and friendly lodge. He added that he hoped that he would enjoy being a member for many years to come.
Before the lodge was closed, the master of Landmark Lodge No 7273 John Roberts, speaking on behalf of the visitors, echoed the sentiments earlier expressed by Ian Ward and congratulated Melvyn on the way that he had conducted himself during the ceremony. He also congratulated the lodge on their good fortune in having three new members in less than a year, alluding to entered apprentice David Arrow and fellowcraft Stuart Hiley, which boded well for the future.
After a fine banquet it fell to John Conroy to propose the toast to the candidate. John began by congratulating the initiation team for a fine ceremony which was choreographed excellently by director of ceremonies Peter Robinson. He then explained that a connection had been created by Neil Curtis performing this ceremony in that Neil had initiated him and had now followed up by initiating his candidate. Continuing, John informed the audience that he had met Melvyn while they were both St Anne’s Palace shopkeepers, adding that Melvyn was still working in that capacity.
In his response Melvyn thanked John for proposing him into the lodge and secretary Kevin Burns for seconding him. He said that he had been looking forward to the night for a long time. Family and professional life had prevented him from joining earlier but he had been advised by his great friend and Fairhaven lodge member, the late Jim Winterbottom, to join when he was ready. He concluded by assuring all present that this was the proudest day of his life and that this special night would be the beginning of a new path in his life and he was looking forward to the new challenges which lay before him.
As ever, a raffle ensued which raised the sum of £130 which, added to the alms collected in lodge, made a total of £241.95 for Masonic and non-Masonic charities.
Terry Stevens-Lewing proposed the toast to the visitors in which he expressed his hope that they had found this meeting a gratifying event and thanked them for their part in making it such a happy place to be. The traditional song to the visitors was led by lodge almoner Alan Brotherton and the response was delivered by master of South Shore Lodge No 4672 Ian Jackson. Ian enthused about witnessing such an excellent ceremony in such a friendly lodge. He urged Melvyn to visit other lodges to see the ceremony he had just been through, adding that he wouldn’t see a better initiation than his own anywhere.
Prior to the final toast of the evening, tyler Barry Hage read a poem entitled ‘My Initiation’ before bringing proceedings to a happy conclusion.