An excellent installation ceremony, followed by a lively festive board, launched Derek Sutton-Reynolds into the chair at Landmark Lodge No 7273. With 40 brethren assembled at the Masonic Hall in Poulton-le-Fylde the evening was memorable for many reasons. What couldn’t be avoided was the unique coincidence that the three main figures holding sway were all named Derek – the ceremony of installation was worthily performed by the outgoing master Derek Wolstenholme; the master elect was Derek Sutton-Reynolds; and the principal guest for the evening was Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson.
Amongst those in attendance, Harold Butterfield was again accompanied by members of Tow Law Lodge No 3349 from County Durham and he added his praise for the quality of the work on this and previous visits. South Fylde Group Vice Chairman John-Robbie Porter was also present and described the ceremony as ‘a brilliant exhibition of emulation ritual’.
As ever, this was a team effort with everyone doing their best to ensure a fine evening. Richard Anderson and Colin Moxey, both veteran past masters of Landmark Lodge acted as installing wardens and did so with customary aplomb. The working tools in the third degree were explained by Chris Thompson, who has recently returned to Landmark Lodge from his sojourn in Tow Law Lodge. The second degree tools were presented by Arthur Lea, a veteran of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement which meets in London. Finally, the first degree tools were presented by Derek Wolstenholme, the hard working installing master.
The address to the newly installed master was delivered in excellent fashion by Richard Anderson. Derek Wolstenholme showed his versatility with an impressive address to the wardens, then to complete the addresses Derek Parkinson concluded with the address to the brethren of the lodge with the fine expertise of an Assistant Provincial Grand Master.
With the installation complete, Derek Parkinson conveyed the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master to the new master and his principal installing officers. He then received cheques from the lodge totalling £2,298 on behalf of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, Trinity Hospice, Rossall Point Coast Watch and Poulton-le-Fylde Masonic Hall. Derek Parkinson described this as a magnificent amount of money for the lodge to raise, adding thanks on behalf of all the eventual recipients.
Speaking on behalf of the visitors, the new master’s blood brother Gez Reynolds thanked all concerned for a fantastic ceremony of installation. He wished his brother and everyone in the lodge a happy and successful year and quipped that Derek should feel at home in the master’s chair as being the eldest brother at home he had always bagged the best chair in the living room!
With the lodge business concluded in a very timely fashion the principal guest had plenty of time to circulate amongst the brethren, being introduced by the hard working director of ceremonies Norman Prue. The brethren then sat down for a splendid meal at the festive board. Having enjoyed mushroom soup, roast beef and sizable servings of lemon cheesecake, the brethren embarked upon the traditional toast list, again expertly guided by Norman Prue.
During his response to the toast to grand officers, Derek Parkinson thanked the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for supporting him. He praised the installation team for a quite stunning display of ritual, noting that an occasion led by three Derek’s could only be a success, especially with ‘Derek’ spelt correctly in each instance! He particularly noted the skill shown in closing the lodge down in full in the third and second degrees, work which was not often seen at lodge installations.
The Assistant Provincial Grand Master continued by advising the brethren of the donations made by the new Masonic Charitable Foundation to charities located within the Province of West Lancashire. He made particular mention that of the £79,000 donated in this area, a sum of £4,000 had been given to ‘Headway’ a charity that helps patients recover from traumatic head injuries. He also reported that pledges for the MCF 2021 Festival were going well within the South Fylde Group and asked if after the festival was over, brethren would consider carrying those donations over to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Derek concluded by asking members to consider what they could do to keep our more senior in age brethren more engaged, such as lunchtime lodge meetings, ferrying our seniors to and from lodge meetings and social events and even extending that service to lodge widows. The most important thing to remember was that even when sharing their time, skills and knowledge on behalf of Freemasonry, it was important that everyone enjoys themselves while doing so.
In his toast to the new master, Derek Wolstenholme assured his audience that he had taken great pleasure in installing his successor, particularly as this had been an occasion when the master elect was going into the chair for the first time. He explained that it had taken Derek Sutton-Reynolds a while longer than usual to reach the chair as his business had taken him to work in the Canary Islands but that he had, however, remained a member of the lodge and on his return had picked up where he had left off. He assured the new master that he would enjoy a good but very fast year with everyone in the lodge right behind him. This toast was followed by a rousing rendition of the master’s song by the evergreen Hugh Mett, who was accompanied at the piano by John-Robbie Porter.
In his response, the master thanked everyone for their attendance, particularly those who had travelled great distances to be there. He thanked everyone involved in the arrangements for the smooth running of the event and thanked his new officers for agreeing to take up their respective posts. He particularly thanked Derek Wolstenholme for the work that he had put into a very fine ceremony and finally to Derek Parkinson for giving up his valuable time and for making up the trio of Dereks. The proceedings were brought to their traditional end when tyler Ken Oxley delivered the tyler’s toast.