It is not often that brethren and guests attend a ceremony that warms the heart; but this was the case at Rose of Lancaster Lodge No 2325 recently. In one of the most emotional and uplifting third degree ceremonies, Gordon Hughes, acting as senior deacon, guided his son Philip to the sublime degree of a master Mason.
Several years ago, Philip became disabled after suffering a stroke, but being the man he is, nothing stands in the way of his Masonry. During each of his previous degrees, all attending have been impressed with his courage, independence and good humour in the lodge. However, there is more to this story than that.
The brethren of the lodge truly showed what it means to be Masons. Due to Philip’s circumstances, the ceremony had to be adapted accordingly throughout. This was done in such a way that it did not detract in the slightest from the proceedings.
WM, Dave Jackson opened and presided over the ceremony until Philip was required to be prepared. He then handed over the chair to Phil Riozzie for the main part of the ceremony. Phil along with the wardens and deacons presented a superb and flawless demonstration of a unique and well thought-out ceremony.
At the appropriate juncture, Philip left to restore his personal comforts and before his return, the chair of King Solomon was passed to Ken Hornby. Ken then did the final part of the ceremony including an excellent explanation of the tracing board.
The usual lodge business being concluded, the brethren made their way to the festive board. Once again, the hall chef Wayne Warhurst did not disappoint, with an excellent meal of carrot and coriander soup, roast pork with apple sauce and lemon meringue pie with cream to finish.
After the usual toasts, the junior warden Steve Equizi proposed the toast to the visitors. On this occasion it was responded to by Philip’s uncle, John Whitehead of Banks Lodge No 7213; a moment he later confided was one of his proudest.
The evening’s festivities were concluded with a faultless rendition of the tyler’s toast given by Jim Borsey.
Mel Smallwood entertained the brethren with his excellent musical skills on the keyboards throughout the evening.
A most satisfying and enjoyable evening and as usual the lodge maintained their reputation for friendliness and welcoming attitude to all their visitors.
Story by Alan Cornes