One of the joys of Freemasonry throughout the Fylde Coast is its proximity to the Scottish border and the links with many lodges in the Scottish constitution. This link was very much in evidence at the installation meeting at Melita Lodge No 6783 which is based at the attractive venue in St Annes, known as the Palace.
It was no surprise therefore that the installation of master elect Ted Eaves was to be conducted by Derek Ashwood, the fine Scottish lad who had occupied the chair for the previous 12 months. Travelling from north of the border to support Derek on this occasion was Steven McConnachie, the Substitute Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Ayrshire, along with members of the Lodge Royal Blues No 399 and Lodge Beith St John’s No 157 of that Province.
With the lodge business swiftly expedited it was time for the principal guest, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox to be welcomed into the lodge. Harry was accompanied by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Steven Reid, South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward and seven other grand officers. Also attending were group vice chairman John Robbie Porter, Provincial Grand Chaplain Canon Rev Godfrey Hirst, Provincial Grand Steward Alan Howie and several other distinguished brethren.
The usual salutations were led by Graham Stott, followed by the installing master inviting Alan Catteral to act as senior warden, Tom Goodier as junior warden and Neil Hitchinough as inner guard. The master elect Ted Eaves was presented by Roland Alderton and expertly installed into the chair of King Solomon by Derek Ashwood.
The working tools in the third degree were presented by Bob Avery, those in the second degree by Tony Alderton and the first degree tools were explained by Mike Notman in an excellent manner. Brian Pearson delivered the address to the master in his own unique way; Ian Ward delivered the address to the wardens with style and precision and the address to the brethren was excellently delivered by Harry Cox.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Harry Cox extended the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison to the new master. He also assured those present that had Tony Harrison been able to attend the excellent installation, he would have been very impressed by Derek Ashwood’s splendid ceremony. Harry also praised everyone else who had taken part.
Following Harry’s greetings from the Provincial Grand Master, Ted Eaves presented cheques on behalf of the brethren to a total of £600, consisting of £200 in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice, £150 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (Lytham Branch) and £150 to Northwest Air Ambulance and £100 towards the Tercentenary celebrations. Harry Cox thanked the brethren for their generosity, on behalf of those who would benefit from these donations.
Responding on behalf of the grand officers present in the lodge room, Ian Ward congratulated the new master on attaining the chair and wished him the best of health to enable him to guide the lodge forward to future success. Ian also noted that it must be a proud day for Ted’s son Rob to see his father installed into the chair.
Responding to the toast to the grand officers at the festive board, Harry Cox thanked everyone in the lodge for the warmth of his welcome. He also thanked the grand and acting Provincial grand officers who had supported him but paid particular thanks to the group officers and gave particular credit to the leadership of group chairman Ian Ward and group vice chairman John-Robbie Porter for their hard work. He congratulated Ted Eaves on attaining the chair of the lodge and encouraged him to enjoy his year in the chair, hoping that he maintains good health to help him achieve that goal. Harry assured him that he had been installed in a really delightful way by his now immediate past master Derek Ashwood. Harry commended the lodge members and their guests for the vibrant atmosphere they had created during the evening.
Harry went on to mention the arrangements for tercentenary events, the Sky TV series on the Order, the continued success of the Fylde ‘sky blues’ club and the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. He concluded by thanking Roland Alderton for his hard work as director of ceremonies and his father Tony Alderton for his sterling efforts as lodge secretary.
In proposing the toast to the master, Derek Ashwood told of the events which led to his pleasure and honour of being in a position to initiate Ted Eaves, then to conduct the second and third degree ceremonies during the years 2010 and 2011; then the serendipity that found him again in the master’s chair and enjoying the pleasure of installing Ted as master of the lodge. He praised Ted for the enthusiasm he had shown since he joined Melita Lodge and concluded by wishing him a great year in the chair.
Following a rousing master’s song performed by John-Robbie Porter in his own inimitable style with Malcolm Burrell at the piano, the newly installed master Ted Eaves thanked Mike Goodwin and the late Bob Derbyshire for proposing him, Derek Ashwood for the fine installation ceremony and his installing officers for their hard work. Ted particularly thanked the strong Scottish contingent for travelling down to help him enjoy this special day. There were also special thanks for Harry Cox, Brian Pearson and everyone else for their work and support. Ted finished by presenting Harry with a bouquet of flowers for his ever-supportive wife Carol. Proceedings were brought to a close by Brian Sager who delivered a poetic tyler’s toast.