An unexpected treat was in store for Paul Cowan, master elect of St Anne’s Lodge No 2457 on his installation into the master’s chair of this fine old lodge. Being installed into the chair of King Solomon was obviously the main purpose of the meeting but receiving Regional Charity Steward Ted Rhodes as the principal guest proved to be quite interesting.
Paul Cowan was initiated in February 2012. After being passed to the second degree later that year he was raised to the third degree in February 2013. Paul is a retired police officer who spent 30 years in the force in various roles including CID and the drugs squad. He is now an IT lecturer for the offender learning team. His hobbies include fly fishing and photography. Paul is a member of the Poulton-le-Fylde Photographic Society and has won several club and regional awards for his work. Paul frames and sells the best of his work and has a permanent exhibition of his pictures in the bar at St Annes Palace Masonic Hall.
Paul’s meteoric rise to the master’s chair was no surprise to those in the know. Not only had he been appointed to the important offices leading up to his imminent elevation but he had also been the lodge charity steward for the last three years and had worked very hard to help the lodge raise several £1,000s for Masonic and non-Masonic charities. For the year 2016 to 2017 the lodge presented a collection of cheques with a total value of £2,457 to last year’s principal guest Deputy Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning. This year’s collection of cheques totalled £2,695, donated to the following recipients: £807 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, £74 to West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, £342 to St Annes Palace Building Fund, £257 to St Anne’s Lodge Almoner’s Fund, a further donation of £600 to the MCF 2021 Festival, £15 to West Lancashire Masonic Clay Pigeon Shooting Society Annual Appeal, £200 to Friends of Fylde Community Link, £200 to Diabetes UK and £200 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation. Paul has worked hard, not only to help raise these sums but has worked tirelessly in his own time on the administration of the lodge charity account.
On arrival into the lodge, Ted Rhodes was supported by fellow grand officer Roger Perry, South Fylde Group Vice Chairman John-Robbie Porter, Provincial Grand Standard Bearer Dave Pallister, South Fylde Group Charity Steward David McKee and other distinguished brethren. Ted was welcomed by the installing master Mike Hornby and took his seat in the lodge. Salutations to the grand and Provincial grand officers were led by acting director of ceremonies Geoff Crosland and the installation ceremony commenced.
With David Pallister, Bryan Bennett and David Hamilton taking their places as installing officers, Howard Farrar presented the master elect to the installing master, who delivered the traditional opening address before inviting Paul Cowan to assent to the ancient charges and regulations, read by lodge secretary Bill Hembrow. With this completed, Paul stepped up to the pedestal and declared his obligation as master elect. The junior brethren were asked to retire while Mike Hornby, assisted by the past masters, completed the process of placing Paul into the master’s chair.
With the new master in the chair, Mike Hornby invited the subordinate brethren to return and line up in the north. They commenced their perambulations around the lodge, saluting and greeting the new master in all three degrees. During this process the working tools were presented by Peter Rodwell in the third degree, Zeke Goodwin in the second degree and Colin Taylor in the first degree; all of which were delivered in fine style.
Zeke Goodwin was appointed and invested as senior warden of the lodge and was placed in his chair by David Pallister, who proceeded to explain his insignia, his gavel and his column in an excellent manner. Howard Monk was placed into the junior warden’s chair by Bryan Bennett with explanations delivered with equal skill. The master continued to appoint and invest the officers with inner guard Tony Wood ably installed by David Hamilton. With all other officers appointed and invested, the new lodge tyler Vincent Carte entered the room and was appointed, invested and addressed by the newly-installed master Paul. Ever popular guest organist Phil Bolton provided much entertainment during this part of the ceremony by playing music appropriate to the person or office as they advanced to receive their collars and returned to their seats.
The ceremony of installation was completed after Howard Farrar had delivered the address to the master and Ted Rhodes had expertly delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge. With these completed, Ted conveyed congratulations from the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and received cheques for various charities as listed above. It was at this point that Ted sprung the pleasant surprise of the evening. He presented Paul with the certificate which declared St Anne’s Lodge as a Vice Patron of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, having donated the sum of £1,500. Ted explained that St Anne’s was only the second lodge so far to receive a Vice Patron Certificate, (the first in the South Fylde Group), which had been framed for exhibition at all lodge meetings. He also assured the brethren that he was so pleased that he was able to present the certificate not only to the master of the lodge but at the same time to the charity steward of the lodge and thanked Paul for his hard work in achieving this award.
During the risings Roger Perry, speaking for the grand officers, congratulated Mike Hornby for a fine ceremony of installation. He informed the gathering that Mike had received only a few days notice of the sickness of outgoing master Peter Rowan, and considering the short preparation time allowed to him, Mike had excelled in difficult circumstances. Roger also praised the work of acting director of ceremonies Geoff Crosland for the manner in which he had prepared the lodge officers, all of whom who had also excelled in their roles. He concluded by congratulating the lodge on their vice patronage of the MCF 2021 Festival.
This theme was taken up by Peter Robinson, replying on behalf of the Provincial grand officers, when he reiterated Roger’s praise for all concerned in a fine ceremony. With the business completed, the lodge was closed and the brethren retired to the banqueting suite to enjoy a splendid five-course meal provided by the Square and Compasses catering team.
Responding to the toast to the grand officers, Ted Rhodes began by saying what a pleasure it was to see so many police officers present to support Paul at his installation. He added that it was also a pleasure to see another ‘sky blue’ brother being installed into the chair of a South Fylde lodge. He went on to thank Roger Perry for his support, along with John-Robbie Porter and the other group officers in attendance; also the Provincial Grand Standard Bearer Dave Pallister for his work during the ceremony.
Ted spoke at length about the MCF 2021 Festival. He was proud to announce that the sum of £1.400,00 had already been pledged or received. He also explained that many members in the Province of West Lancashire had benefited from assistance from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. He concluded by encouraging brethren to sign up for patron status and that Dave McKee had forms for this purpose and patron jewels for those who committed to the fund at the meeting.
There followed a light-hearted double toast to the health of the master by South Fylde Group Mentor Brian Horrocks and singer for the evening Peter Baldwin. Between them, they described Paul’s police career, which included the Drugs Squad and CID – but not traffic as he only drove an Austin Maxi. Yes, it was that sort of humour! Peter then went on to perform the master’s song with musical accompaniment by Phil Bolton.
Paul Cowan then responded by thanking everyone for supporting him on his special occasion, adding that he greatly appreciated their attendance. He thanked all those who had delivered addresses and explained the tools, as well as lodge secretary for his work in the background, making sure that everything went off without a hitch. He paid particular thanks to director of ceremonies Mike Hornby, as well as Geoff Crosland who had stepped in as installing master and director of ceremonies respectively due to the sudden illness of Peter Rowan who, as last year’s master, would have been the installing master. Paul concluded by thanking the brethren who had accepted lodge offices for the ensuing year and assured his audience that he would work diligently for the benefit of the lodge during his year in the chair and beyond.
A raffle was held which raised £206 with some serious barracking when lodge secretary Bill Hembrow won the first prize. The meeting was brought to an end by Vincent Carte, who delivered the tyler’s toast.