At the installation meeting of the Ingol Lodge of St Margaret No 8544, Ellis Wilkinson returned to the master’s chair, a position he had vacated some 23 years earlier in 1994. The event was witnessed by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton as the principal guest, accompanied by grand officer and group vice chairman Geoff Saul. Unfortunately, working commitments prevented the current master Kevin Walton from attending the occasion. At very short notice, lodge member Joe Welsby stood in as the acting and installing master for the meeting.
Following the completion of the administrative business of the lodge, the lodge director of ceremonies Gowan O’Hagan, requested permission to retire from the lodge. He later returned to announce the presence of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton. Kevin entered in due form accompanied by grand and Provincial grand officers and was welcomed by Joe.
Following salutations, the lodge returned to the second degree and Ellis was duly presented to Joe by lodge member David Seed. Ellis reaffirmed his obligation as master elect before the lodge reverted to the third degree. Joe then proceeded to install Ellis as the next master of the lodge in a first class manner. During the ceremony the working tools of the third, second and first degrees were presented in an equally commendable manner by master Masons, Owen Thomas, Tristan Thorpe and Stuart Flynn respectively. Following his installation in the chair, Ellis was addressed by David Seed, who continued the high standard set by the working tools team.
Ellis then appointed and invested, Joe Welsby as senior warden and Owen Thomas as junior warden; both being informed of their duties by Bob Cadman. The address to the wardens was given by Mark Dunn. Stuart Flynn was appointed and invested as the senior deacon and Paul McKernan as the junior deacon, this being their first time in those positions, they were addressed by Bob Cadman. Finally, Tristan Thorpe was appointed and invested as inner guard, the address again being given by Bob Cadman. The ceremony concluded with the address to the brethren of the lodge given by the principal guest Kevin Poynton.
Kevin then had the pleasure of bringing the congratulations and good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, commenting on the excellent way Ellis had been installed into the chair by Joe as installing master. He congratulated Ellis on attaining the chair, wishing him well for his term of office and the work of all the brethren who had a part to play in what had been a first class ceremony.
In return, Ellis presented Kevin with a card explaining that four charity cheques were in the course of preparation and would be presented later in the evening. For the information of those present, Kevin informed everyone that each cheque would be for the sum of £110, the first, would be in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the second, in support of the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, the third, in support of North West Blood Bikes and the final one in support of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Later in the evening, in response to the toast to the grand officers, Kevin, said he had earlier brought the greetings and best wishes of the Provincial Grand Master, he now wished to bring his own congratulations. He commended the lodge on what had been a first class and enjoyable ceremony. In particular, he acknowledged the work of Joe Welsby as the installing master. He also mentioned the excellent work of Owen Thomas, Tristan Thorpe and Stuart Flynn in their presentation of the working tools, saying what a pleasure it had been to see the young Masons of the lodge not only playing a full part in the proceedings but perfectly performing the associated movements. He noted that four prospective candidates stood in the wings to keep the lodge busy during the ensuing year. He wished good health and an enjoyable time in what looks like becoming a very busy year.
Turning to the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, Kevin was pleased to say that it was a magnificent occasion attended by over 1,400 Masons. They witnessed a ceremony and ritual that was second to none and more than 700 were later able to attend the supporting banquet. The meeting saw the launch of the 2021 MCF Festival, that had already received individual pledges from some 2,000 Masons, totalling £1,000,000. This was in addition to lodge and chapter Tercentenary celebration donations totalling over £77,000. He reiterated the words of the Provincial Grand Master in saying: “There are 8,700 Freemasons in West Lancashire. Brethren, take out a pledge in support of the Festival and wear the bespoke Festival Jewel, with pride.” Kevin also added his congratulations to the two brethren present who had received high promotions at the meeting, thanking them for all the work they have done within the Preston Group and Province.
Moving on, Kevin referred to the tercentenary events that are taking place during the year. He particularly mentioned the Provincial Tercentenary Dinner that is to take place in November at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool. The Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, will be in attendance and is pleased to have the company of the Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton.
Returning to the events of the evening, on behalf of the ultimate recipients, he thanked the lodge for the generous charitable donations that were now safely in his pocket. He encouraged the brethren to continue to support their Masonic halls and especially the work of the group, work that continues throughout the summer recess. He concluded by thanking the members of the lodge for their support, assistance and hospitality, saying what a thoroughly enjoyable occasion it had been.
As part of the festivities, a raffle was held that swelled the lodge’s charity account by £145. The proceedings were further enhanced by a delightful rendition of the master’s song given by Joseph Gordon accompanied by John Whittall on the piano.