Woolton Lodge No 6448 has celebrated its 70th anniversary with the enthronement of Edward V at their annual installation ceremony. His namesake ruled for only 78 days way back in 1483, while King Edward of Woolton has achieved a combined 4 years plus further days since this installation.
The members and guests of Woolton Lodge gathered in the Roman Suite at Liverpool Masonic Hall, with WM Gordon McConnell pleased to welcome the principal guest Mark Matthews to the lodge. He was accompanied by the vice chairman (Craft) of Liverpool Group David Johnson and Bob Paterson, the group secretary.
Included among the many guests where a good number of grand and Provincial grand officers from the provinces of both West Lancashire and Cheshire. From further afield Robert Sawers, a past master of Lodge Maryhill No 510 which meets in Glasgow, and a frequent and most welcome visitor to the lodge, who on passing the War Memorial within the hall remarked that his own lodge had lost 12 members in the First World War. Also in attendance was fellow scot George Christie, his mother lodge being Thistle and Crown Lodge 1167, Glasgow, who became a member of the English constitution on joining the former Liverpool Epworth Lodge No 5381, and later Anfield Lodge No 2215. Representing Wales was Bob Smith, immediate past master of Trearddur Lodge No 6110, which meets at Holyhead, Anglesey. With every member of the lodge in attendance, and at least 30 friends present, seating within the lodge room was at a premium with everyone hoping to be seated on the front row.
After pleasantries had been exchanged the ceremonial of the evening began when master elect Edward O’Hare was presented. He reaffirmed his unqualified assent to his duties as WM before his installation into the chair of King Solomon. On being installed as the master of Woolton Lodge for the ensuing year, Edward had the third degree working tools presented to him by Geoff Green, those of the second degree by Graham Smith and the first degree by Dr Alistair Reid. David Blythe gave the customary address to the WM, while Mark Matthews performed an exemplarily address to the brethren of the lodge. On the conclusion of the ceremony, Mark rose and congratulated Edward on his installation into office, this being the fifth time, quite a record, he also thanked Gordon for the splendid way he performed his duty as the installing master and of special note was the work done from the opening of the lodge and throughout the evening as director of ceremonies by Geoff Cuthill. Mark then passed on the best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master to the WM and indeed to all of the assembled brethren.
Eddy’s first duty as WM was indeed a pleasant one, presenting three cheques each for £100 to Mark in favour of the West Lancashire 2021 Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund.
The festive board was held in the Roman Suite, which the hall staff had laid out in a delightful and spectacular manner, and it was during the toasts that Mark remarked on how pleasing it had been to receive the great support given by the lodges in the hall to the officers of the Liverpool Group. He informed all present that the Provincial Grand master Tony Harrison wants Freemasonry to be a matter of enjoyment, family involvement and something to be shared with friends and the local communities. This included Royal Arch Freemasonry, an integral component of the Craft, which, from the summons it can be seen that the membership of Woolton Lodge is well represented. Mark said that this would be an ideal time and opportunity to congratulate Geoff Cuthill who had been promoted at the Provincial Grand Chapter meeting to Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, which was met with great acclamation
Care was another important factor close to the heart of the PrGM, particularly to the position of almoner, being perhaps the most important role within any lodge. Fortunately, in Woolton Lodge that is in the very capable hands of Colin Twigg, Here in West Lancashire we had for a very long time been fortunate in having our own West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, along with the new Masonic Charitable Foundation, which has replaced the four previous national charities.
Mark next thanked all for the really warm welcome he had received, as is only to be expected in this great seafaring city adding that the ceremony within the lodge room had been superb throughout, and that has flawlessly extended itself to the festive board. Cheers abounded around the room.
A signed card of congratulation was presented to the WM on behalf of the Liverpool Group by Dave Johnson, while Gordon McConnell gave an insight into the devoted work over many years given by his great friend Eddie O’Hare to the lodge. He said: ‘It was here in this lodge that Eddie first took the chair in 1996, he had another reign in 1999, then again for two years, 2001 and 2002, so his new title of King Edward V of Woolton is thoroughly well deserved.” This was met with rapturous applause.
In reply Eddie stood up and thanked Gordon for his kind words. He stated: “As a master on more than one occasion the dignity of the office never diminished and he felt humbled on being placed in the chair once again. The ceremony was dignified, as to be expected, and the festive board takes me back to my early years in Freemasonry, a top table with numerous sprigs, and such friendly warm-hearted company to share it with, friends together. It is most heartening to see so many in attendance, please return soon as we have a busy calendar. We hope to be performing a ceremony at every meeting for the rest of the Masonic year. We have two candidates now awaiting admission, the first of whom will be initiated in November, and added to this are another three already in process of application.”
Eddie then moved on to thank all the friends of the lodge for their attendance, each of equal importance, with a special thank you to ‘The Taverners’ whose presence had helped to illuminate both ceremony and festive board making it such a bright occasion. He further added: “Tonight I have been part of a ceremony performed to the highest standard, carried out with dignity, respect, humility and goodwill, but I stand here somewhat nervous. I am aware that behind me stands the DC who has been outstanding tonight and must be the best turned out DC in any lodge, however any minute now I am expecting that white bow-tie to light up, start spinning, and when distracted, get a thorough soaking from that flower placed the button-hole of his jacket.”
The festive board continued in similar manner until sadly it was time for the tyler James Kontzle to bring the joyful evening to a close in time honoured manner with the full version of his toast.