The members of Baldwin Lodge No 1398 were delighted to welcome Deputy Provincial Grand Master Phil Gunning to their installation meeting at a packed Dalton-in-Furness Masonic Hall. Accompanying Phil was local Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, along with two other grand officers and four acting Provincial grand officers.
They were able to witness installing master Darren Stainton undertake his duties to great effect as he went about the important business of placing Craig Boothroyd in the chair of King Solomon.
Darren can reflect on a busy and successful year. Four initiations during his term of office ensured he was kept gainfully employed, whilst he also proved an excellent ambassador for the lodge as he ventured round the Furness and South Lakeland Group in support of his fellow masters in office. It was pleasing to note that there were 11 visiting masters observing Darren discharge his final duties as master of the lodge.
David Grove was called upon to deliver the address to the newly installed master. The oration was heartfelt, accurate and delivered with great timing. The impression made on Phil was such that he later paid great tribute to David for the excellence of his work.
Mike Benson delivered the address to the wardens whilst Dave Sear followed up with the address to the brethren. Junior brethren in the persons of Rob McClymont, Brett Newsham and Jason Benn showed that it is not just the old hands who can deliver good ritual as they presented the working tools of the three degrees. Their performances were extremely well received, showed great potential and bode well for the future.
In the investment of the officers there was one rather unusual appointment. Bill Jinks has for many years been an ever-present lodge steward, in which capacity he has acted as a mentor and friend to those junior brethren who find their first appointment being in that role. His dedication is such that he has been rewarded by being appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon. On the evening, Bill, who is not in the first flush of youth, was declared as senior steward, (emeritus), so that his name will always appear on the summons – although his workload, hopefully, will be severely curtailed.
From 1872 until 1946 Baldwin Lodge met in Dalton Castle, a 14th century peel tower in the centre of the town. As part of a tercentenary celebration, lodge members had enjoyed a guided tour of the castle and in acknowledgement of this connection, Phil was presented with a cheque for £200 in favour of the Friends of Dalton Castle, a group of local volunteers who help keep the history of the building alive through involvement with local groups and schools.
Another local cause to benefit from a donation of £200 on the day was the Dalton and Ireleth Christmas Tree Festival. This hugely popular community event centres on the local parish church and has been supported by the lodge for several years.
Phil was also presented with a cheque for £600 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. The first £200 of this was matched with a donation from the group charity account presented by group charity steward Richard Wilcock. This, with other donations, meant the lodge had reached the threshold to become a vice patron of the festival and Richard presented a certificate confirming this.
As well as these charitable donations the lodge members, in addition to their personal sponsorship of the MCF 2021 Festival, have by means of raffles at festive boards raised the sum of £483 for the hall building fund.
The facilities at Dalton being unable to meet the demand of the 92 members and guests who wished to dine, a journey was made to Barrow Masonic Hall for the installation banquet. As is a tradition of Baldwin Lodge, Craig as the new master, provided a decorated cake to mark his installation. Good food and companionship was enjoyed by all in the pleasant surroundings of the Fairfield Suite.
During his response to the toast to the grand officers, Phil identified and congratulated the three members of the lodge who act as volunteers with the local coastguard service for their efforts as part of the wider community.
Furness and South Lakeland Group Vice Chairman Gary Rogerson was called upon to sing the master’s song which was very well received. Group chairman Peter Schofield looked somewhat aghast when it was mischievously announced that it would now be a tradition of the lodge to ask a group officer to undertake the singing of the song and that he had been selected for the 2018 meeting!
A raffle held at the banquet raised £452 to be equally split between the MCF 2021 Festival and the Dalton-in-Furness hall building fund.
Amongst the members of Baldwin Lodge enjoying the food, wine and camaraderie of the evening were three entered apprentices and one fellow craft. With another proposal for membership made on the day, Craig can look forward to a busy, yet no doubt rewarding year as the master of Baldwin Lodge.