The installation meeting of Lodge of Peace and Unity No 314 was graced by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Tony Bent and Phil Gunning, in addition to its own members, DPrGM Howard Jones, APrGM David Winder, PPrGM Peter Hosker, PDPrGM Tom Blackburn and PAPrGM Bill Huck. They were supported by the Preston Group Chairman Steve Bolton and the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies David Thomas.
Following confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting, the lodge was raised to the third degree and the principal guest Tony Bent, accompanied by other grand officers, entered the lodge in due form to be welcomed by the installing master Bob Irwin. Salutations were given that, in view of the number of high ranking attendees, resulted in David Thomas ‘working overtime’ with the coordination of seven separate sets of salutes.
Peter Hosker was invited to take the position of installing senior warden, Tom Blackburn the seat of installing junior warden and Bill Huck that of inner guard. The master elect Robert Pye was presented for installation by Howard Jones. The brethren present were then treated to an excellent ceremony as the installing master placed his successor into the master’s chair.
The working tools in the third degree were delivered by John Eastham, those in the second degree by Hal Hamer and the first degree by the installing master, the brethren particularly appreciating the faultless delivery of the long version of the second degree working tools by Hal.
Following Robert’s installation into the chair, he was addressed by Howard. Both the senior and junior wardens were addressed by Robert as he appointed and invested them in their offices; the address to both wardens being given by Bob Graham. Robert continued by investing and addressing both deacons and the outer guard with the brethren of the lodge being addressed by Peter Hosker. The visitors were particularly impressed by the quality of the invested stewards of the lodge that included Peter Hosker, Tom Blackburn and Bill Huck.
At the conclusion of the ceremony of installation, Tony Bent brought the congratulations and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Anthony Harrison, saying, that had he been present he would have thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony and would have most certainly congratulated the installing master, Bob Irwin for his work during the installation. The WM had the pleasure of presenting a letter from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, acknowledging the receipt of a donation of £2,000 from the lodge members. On behalf of the unknown and ultimate recipients of the charity, Tony thanked the brethren for their extreme generosity.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Tony gave his own congratulations to Robert on his attainment of the chair again, wishing him continued good health to enjoy the forthcoming year. He also thanked the installation team led by Bob for their obvious hard work with particular mention of the secretary Ian Douglass, for his communications.
Turning to the other grand officers, Tony was pleased to have the company of Howard, Phil and David. He made special mention of Peter Hosker wishing him well for the future.
With reference to the lodge, he noted that the warrant was dated September 1797, a time when George III was on the throne and the lodge was now into its fourth century of existence. He informed the brethren that George III was the king remembered by royalty as the purchaser of what is now Buckingham Palace and the king that lost the Americas.
Tony thanked the lodge for the donation totalling £2,000 to the WLFC, reminding the brethren that West Lancashire is the only Province in the country that supports its own charity in addition to the three main Masonic charities. The charity regularly distributes around £500,000 per year to deserving causes that should make the brethren proud to be Masons and in particular West Lancashire Masons.
Tony concluded his response by reminding the brethren of the forthcoming Provincial Ball, a magnificent occasion, to which everyone is invited.
During the installation banquet, the brethren were treated to a magnificent rendition of the master’s song sung by John Kay, accompanied by David Tattersall on the piano.
The evening closed with the presentation of a bouquet of flowers to Tony for his wife Linda, as a thank-you from the lodge and the visitors present and a further bouquet of flowers to Howard for his wife Pat.