The Lodge of Endeavour No 7036 held its annual remembrance service at the November meeting of the lodge. The meeting was opened by the WM Phil Daniels, he then welcomed everyone to the Festival of Remembrance night meeting and thanked them for their support. Prior to the start of the festival, the brethren commemorated the passing of one of its members, Canon Ken Phillips. Ken had been a member of the lodge for many years, during which time he had been an active and enthusiastic member. As a former Army Chaplain, Captain Phillips was a keen supporter of the Festival of Remembrance and had often led the proceedings in previous years. The brethren stood in silence in tribute to a member who will be sadly missed, both by his family and the lodge in general.
A delegation of Freemasons from the Scottish Province of Lanarkshire Middle Ward then entered the lodge. They were warmly welcomed by Phil and he thanked them for their continuing support of this special meeting. The delegation was led by Gordon Hope, WM of Lodge Cambuslang Royal Arch No 114 and also included members of Lodge St Bryde No 579 and three other lodges from the Province. Prior to taking their seats, Gordon thanked the lodge on behalf of all for the invitation.
The business of the lodge was completed as per the summons. One of those items was to elect a WM for the ensuing year. David Grime was elected and thanked the members for the trust they had placed in him. The lodge was then temporarily closed, allowing non-Masonic guests to enter the room where they were warmly welcomed by Phil. In all 150 ladies, gentlemen and brethren were present in the room as the next part of the evening’s meeting, the Festival of Remembrance commenced.
The doors of the lodge room were re-opened and the standard bearers entered accompanied by a Scottish Piper. The Union flag came first and was followed by the Standards of the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force. They progressed round the room where the Union flag was left at the master’s pedestal, the Army flag at the junior warden’s pedestal, the Navy flag at the senior warden’s pedestal and the Air Force flag at the secretary’s table.
The festival itself began with a series of dedications commencing with Alan Howarth and Ella William (aged 12) giving a dedication to the British soldier by reading the poem ‘Tommy Atkins.’ That was followed by Malcolm Jukes presenting a dedication about the Gurkha’s, with particular reference to a selection of the many acts of bravery demonstrated by them over the years, serving with the British Army. Gordon Hope, from the Scottish delegation, completed this part of the festival by reading a dedication to William Reid, a member of their Province who was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Sam McKeowen picked up the Union flag and the Reverend Ivan Walters stood as they processed to the west of the lodge room, where Reverend Ivan led the Act of Remembrance. At its conclusion the bugler played the Last Post, followed by two minutes silence. Ron Docherty read a short verse in memory of those service personnel lost around the world. Reveille was sounded and the hymn, ‘Abide with Me’ was sung.
Jim Bennett laid the wreath on the floor of the lodge along with a member of the Scottish contingent who laid a cross alongside the wreath. Ultimately, both tributes are to be laid at the Cenotaph in Preston during the official Remembrance Day parade. The piper then played the Piper’s Lament, ‘Flowers of the Forest,’ after which, the group chairman Steve Bolton, recited the Lament. The Ceremony of Remembrance concluded as all sang the National Anthem together.
Phil thanked Reverend Ivan for conducting the Festival of Remembrance and all the guests for their attendance. The Standards ceremonially processed out of the lodge to be followed by the non-Masonic guests. The lodge was then re-opened to formally close the Masonic meeting.
Later in the evening, the lodge members and their guests enjoyed an excellent meal in the ballroom. They were entertained by the Preston Army Cadet Corp of Drums, who played a selection of tunes. The piper also entertained everyone playing a selection of familiar pipe marches.
Although the main purpose of the evening was to remember those lost and injured in all conflicts, it was also an opportunity to raise money for charity, which this year was going to be split between the Army Benevolent Fund and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. To this end there was a raffle for a large number of prizes, which had been donated by the members and a further ‘Chorley’ raffle for a selection of pre-prepared hampers. In total the magnificent sum of £1,000 was raised for the nominated charities and Phil thanked all present for their generous support.
At the Civic Remembrance Day Parade, held the following Sunday, members of the Preston Masonic Group, wearing Masonic regalia, laid the wreath and commemorative cross at the Cenotaph, to honour those lost in conflict.